After a nerve-shredding delay, in which the referee attempted to calm a buzzing posse of angry Portuguese defenders, Lampard duly stroked the penalty under the body of the visiting keeper, Artur.
Terry, Lampard and Cole: at Chelsea the song retains the same old chorus.
As managers vacate the dugout with metronomic regularity, propelled by the boot of their capricious employer, this core coterie in the Chelsea dressing room have maintained the team’s focus.
The wellspring of stability, they began this match as if determined yet again to demonstrate that, as long as they are around, all is well at the Bridge. No wonder Roberto Di Matteo looked so calm in the Chelsea technical area: his stalwarts were in control.
It was a different matter for Jorge Jesus, standing alongside the temporary Chelsea coach.
While Di Matteo’s pate shone in the floodlights, the Benfica manager is in possession of the finest head of hair in the game, giving him the appearance of a superannuated rocker saluting the crowd at the Wichita Enormodome.
Under his thatch, as the game unfolded Jesus was getting increasingly cross; when his team went down to 10 men with Maxi Pereira’s dismissal, he had reached such a pitch of fury, he appeared on the verge of pulling his hair out. Or at least he was until he remembered that it is evidently his most precious commodity.
But if it appeared easy for Di Matteo, this management lark, it was largely because Terry, Lampard, Cole and their long-term collaborators Petr Cech and Salomon Kalou worked so hard to maintain superiority.
Within five minutes, as their opponents started with pace and intent, both Terry and Lampard had been obliged to fling themselves into the path of Benfica advances.
While Lampard twice had to track back to make telling interventions in his own penalty area after Luiz sloppily gave away possession.
When Terry left the pitch on 59 minutes, clutching at a tightening hamstring, it was then it could be said that things began to slide for the home side.
Without his assurance, his authority, his shouty insistence his colleagues up their work-rate, Chelsea found themselves exposed.
Up in the stands, where the regulars had been contenting themselves with mocking chants “Are you watching Manchester?” the nerves began to rattle.
When their visitors scored a soft equaliser, Chelsea looked unnecessarily on the brink. How the Portuguese supporters relished their moment, serenading the stadium at that point with a lengthy chorus of “Michel Platini”.
Presumably they wanted to indicate their support for the effects the Uefa chief’s financial fair play regulations might have on their hosts.
But after Meireles calmed things, no one in the blue quarter much cared about any future beyond April 18, the date of that first leg of their semi-final against Barcelona.
Full attention could be given to the opportunity that presents for revenge, for righting the perceived wrongs of 2009 when the Catalans benefited from both luck and a myopic referee to deny Chelsea the platform their owner has long demanded. Terry, Lampard and Cole will certainly remember that night. And will be ready.
Indeed, you wondered what Andre Villas-Boas will have made of this performance. The manager, who came to west London certain that the old guard were Chelsea’s most pressing problem, could only have drawn one conclusion.
Had he realised that they were instead the club’s most potent weapon, he could have still been here, enjoying the success, enjoying the moment.