Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chelsea vs FC Basel second leg semifinal Final Score (3-1) Agg (5-2)

Chelsea booked their place in the UEFA Europa League final at the Amsterdam ArenA with a 3-1 home win over FC Basel.

Mohammed Salah shocked the hosts seconds before the break with a sweetly-struck effort, but the Blues came roaring out of the blocks in the second half.

Fernando Torres bundled home the equaliser after Frank Lampard's shot was saved, then Victor Moses gave his side the lead a minute later with another tap-in.

David Luiz's thunderbolt from 25 yards sealed the win, and despite Basel's good play they exit the competition.

It had been a poor first half for the Blues, as they struggled to get into the game and were outmatched by the energy of the visitors, who had to score at least two goals to go through. Despite that, it was Frank Lampard, one goal away from making himself the club's record goalscorer, who came closest first. The veteran midfielder was put through by a fine pass from Fernando Torres, but his effort beat the keeper but not the woodwork.

Basel were seeing plenty of the ball but not creating any clear chances, although Marco Steller didn't need a clear sight of goal to go close to putting them ahead, getting on the end of a long diagonal to smash a first-time volley at the far post that was inches away from putting the visitors ahead.

Basel soon had several chances in the space of a few seconds, however - first Mohamed Salah escaped the Chelsea defence but left his shot too late as Peter Cech came out to save at his feet, then Valentin Stocker had two efforts from the rebound, both of which were blocked by Ryan Bertrand. Basel demanded a penalty for handball, although replay showed the referee was right to wave play on.

Basel took the lead shortly afterwards, however, Mohamed Salah taking advantage of a bad Chelsea defensive line to nip in behind Gary Cahill, and he made no mistake the second time, sweeping an early effort into the far corner well beyond Cech's reach, and giving more than a glimmer of hope to the visitors as the whistle blew for half-time.

Basel only needed one more goal, but they suffered a setback early into the second half when Chelsea equalised. Frank Lampard's effort from range was saved by Yann Sommer, but Torres was alert to take advantage of the rebound, played onside by degen as he just beat Sommer to the ball to smash into the roof of the net from close range.

Basel still only needed one goal, but just two minutes later they conceded again. Torres' shot was poor, but took a deflection which landed nicely for Victor Mosses to convert from close range, undoing Basel's fine work in the first half and putting Chelsea back in pole position.

The visitors were unable to display any of their energy and creativity from the first half, and it was no surprise that the next goal went to the hosts. What was a surprise was the nature of it - Frank Lampard was encouraged to shoot by the crowd, but he instead found David Luiz who curled an absolutely sublime dipping effort into the top corner from 30 yards to put the game beyond Basel.

Lampard soon had a decent opportunity to score his all-important goal, but his free-kick was blazed wildly over, perhaps the second-worst shot of the night after an earlier Torres effort which went out for a throw-in. Despite that, it was an accomplished performance from Chelsea, who put themselves into a second consecutive European final - not the one they would've wanted, but one they will nonetheless be more than happy to win.

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