Spain and Portugal enjoy an historical rivalry in the south-western corner of Europe. Benitez and Mourinho have transferred that north, with 10 meetings in the two seasons since they arrived in England, and there is clearly still no love lost between them.
There was no handshake between the pair after something of a war of words in the run-up to a pulsating Old Trafford game won on Saturday by goals from John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia during a first hour when Liverpool dominated.
They will meet Middlesbrough or West Ham in the final on May 13.
Didier Drogba's 70th minute goal, after Mourinho had changed tactics from a cautious diamond midfield to attacking wingers, led to a Chelsea onslaught including the missing of a last-gasp sitter by Joe Cole.
British newspapers and commentators were almost universally puzzled and critical of Mourinho, who left international wingers Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole on the bench, deploying defender Paulo Ferreira in midfield and Geremi at right back.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard suggested Chelsea's starting line-up had given his side heart after just one win in the last nine meeting between the sides.
''It gave us a bit of a boost,'' Gerrard said. ''Obviously I'm not going to knock Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best coaches in the world but you know that on a big pitch like this had Chelsea played their wingers they would have been a bit more dangerous,'' he said.
The only other time Liverpool beat Chelsea in the last two seasons was in another semi-final, in the Champions League last May when a disputed Luis Garcia goal gave them victory and they went on to claim the title.
NO WINGS Chelsea were forced to play without wingers on that occasion because they were injured.
Unlike Gerrard, the British media, condemned this season by Mourinho as anti-Chelsea, queued up to take a knock at the Portuguese today.
''With questionable tactics and an eccentric team selection, Jose Mourinho was last night transformed from Special One to Tinkerman,'' the Sunday Times said referring to the nickname of predecessor Claudio Ranieri.
Other papers described the team as unbalanced and bizarre.
''Benitez won the tactical battle just as he outwitted Mourinho last year in the Champions League'', the Independent said.
Benitez earlier this week had suggested Roman Abramovich's money rather than Mourinho's talent was the main reason for the London upstarts' new found success.
Mourinho refused to accept he had make a selection error.
Missed chances and bad refereeing decisions, particularly the awarding of a questionable free kick that led to the first goal, were the cause of the defeat not tactical mistakes, he said.
Perhaps, too, the London side, one point from securing their second successive league title, lacked the desperate hunger of their rivals for whom the FA Cup was the only chance of silverware.
''This is the game of the season for them because they have nothing else,'' Mourinho said before the match. ''It is not the same for us.'' REUTERS PM KP1953