Europe — 26 April 2013

David Luiz celebrates his winning goal in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over BaselIn last night’s Europa League semi-final first leg Chelsea defeated Basel 2-1 and Fenerbahce beat Benfica 1-0 in Istanbul.

Chelsea sealed the last-gasp victory that their possession and performance deserved in Switzerland.

The Blues took the lead after 12 minutes. Basel keeper Yann Sommer pushed Frank Lampard’s effort around the post and from the resulting corner kick the visitors took the lead.

Lampard’s corner hit Branislav Ivanovic, before bouncing off forward Victor Moses and finding the net.

Petr Cech saved Fabian Schar’s powerful effort on 17 minutes, before Sommer denied Ramires with a smart save and just before half-time Eden Hazard dragged a shot wide when through on-goal after good work from Fernando Torres and Moses.

Basel midfielder Valentin Stocker struck the post just after the interval. Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole and Basel defender Aleksandar Dragovic were both booked, which means the pair will miss the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Basel pushed for an equaliser in the last ten minutes and found a leveller on 87 minutes. The home side were awarded a rather fortunate penalty kick, when Stocker went over in the penalty area under a challenge from Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta. Young midfielder Schar made no mistake with the spot kick.

Chelsea came close to regaining the lead soon afterwards, substitute Oscar firing over after Fernando Torres had failed to connect properly with the ball. However, the Blues did regain the lead with virtually the last kick of the game.

Ramires won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Brazilian David Luiz struck the free-kick, which Sommer could only palm into the corner of the net, when he should have saved the effort.

In the other semi-final first leg Fenerbahce defeated Portuguese giants Benfica 1-0. The Turkish side struck the woodwork on three occasions and missed a penalty-kick in the first half. The only goal of the game arrived on 72 minutes; Egeman Korkmaz heading home from a corner after an initial effort had hit the bar.

Who will be in the Europa League final?


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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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