Europe — 16 May 2013

Chelsea players lift the Europa League trophy

Chelsea defeated Benfica 2-1 to claim the Europa League trophy in Amsterdam last night. The Blues made history by being the first club ever to be the holders of the Europa League and Champions League trophies at the same time.

Benfica came out of the traps faster than their English opponents did. The Portuguese side had the first chance through striker Oscar Cardozo, who headed over on two minutes. Nico Gaitan also saw efforts go wide of Petr Cech’s goal.

Chelsea’s best effort of the first period came when Artur produced a save from a superb Frank Lampard effort just before the break. Benfica also started the second half better, with Gaitan firing a half-volley wide and Cardozo having a goal disallowed for offside.

Cech produced a good save from Eduardo Salvio on the hour mark, just before Chelsea took the lead against the run of play. Juan Mata flicked the ball onto Fernando Torres, the Spaniard held off Luisao, before going round Artur and firing into the back of an empty net.

The Blues were not ahead for long though, as Cesar Azpilicueta handled a Lima shot in the penalty area and Cardozo blasted home the penalty. It was the tenth goal that the Paraguayan has scored against English sides in European competition.

Cardozo also hit a dipping volley that was superbly saved by Cech in the Chelsea goal. Lampard was unlucky not to put the Blues into the lead when he saw his 30 yard effort hit the cross bar. With the game looking set to go into extra-time Chelsea snatched a stoppage-time winner.

Ramires won a corner after chasing what seemed like a lost cause. Juan Mata fired in the corner and centre-back Branislav Ivanovic rose highest to head to head home past Artur.

Benfica almost equalised, but Gary Cahill produced a fantastic last-ditch tackle on Cardozo to make sure of victory for the Blues.

Did Chelsea deserve to win the Europa League?


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David Nugent

David is a 29 year-old football fan and journalist, who is passionate about the beautiful game. He is a lifelong supporter of Premier League Everton and likes nothing better than a healthy discussion about the world's favourite sport.

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