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Main » 2013 » May » 3 » Europa League: Chelsea 3:1 Basel (Agg 5-2)

Europa League: Chelsea 3:1 Basel (Agg 5-2)

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A superb David Luiz goal helped Chelsea came from behind to beat Basel 3-1 on Thursday, booking a place in the Europa League final.
Basel, trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Switzerland, led on the night thanks to a neat goal from Mohamed Salah just before half-time at Stamford Bridge, but there was always the sense that Chelsea could come back.

Chelsea's first-half performance was one full of promise but it was evident that they had gears they could go through if need be.

Ryan Bertrand replaced Ashley Cole for Chelsea in the starting line-up, while John Terry dropped to the bench in place of the returning Branislav Ivanovic. 

Victor Moses and Fernando Torres replaced Oscar and Demba Ba respectively in Rafael Benitez's side.

Basel made a number of changes from their 3-0 defeat to Luzern on Sunday, with Philip and David Degen as well as Joo-Ho Park, Aleksandar Dragovic, Marcelo Diaz and Raul Bobadilla all missing out on the starting XI. 

Kay Voser, Fabian Schar, Markus Steinhofer, Salah and Mohamed El-Nenny were all recalled.

Chelsea had the best of the opening exchanges, with Frank Lampard hitting the post after nine minutes following a good through ball from Torres, with the Spaniard forcing a save from Yann Sommer eight minutes later.

On 25 minutes, Marco Streller's volley had Petr Cech rooted to the spot but thankfully for Chelsea his effort whistled wide as the Swiss side began to put their mark on the game.

Ramires spurned a golden opportunity on 30 minutes when an Eden Hazard backheel found Moses, who slid it across to the Brazilian. However, Ramires failed to make a clean connection and Sommer made a comfortable save.

In the 38th minute, Salah was played in but hit his shot straight at Cech before Valentin Stocker followed in, only for his effort to be deflected by Bertrand. 

The opening goal came right on the stroke of half-time when Salah gave the visitors the lead. A lovely through ball from Stocker was swept past Cech in what was the last action of the first half.

Just four minutes into the second half and the Blues were level thanks to Torres' quick reactions. 

Hazard burst into the box and laid it off for Lampard, whose shot could only be parried by Sommer into the path of Torres. The Spaniard made it one each, dispatching it coolly into the roof of the net.

Two minutes later and Chelsea were ahead, Moses keeping up his impressive goalscoring record in the UEFA Europa League.

Torres' deflected shot found its way into Moses path. His first effort was well blocked but he made no mistake with his second, calmly putting his side in front.

Chelsea turned on the style just short of the hour mark when David Luiz made it three with a stylish effort. The Brazilian, retaining his central midfield berth, curled his shot past Sommer into the top corner.

The Swiss side rallied after the goal and forced some good saves from Petr Cech, albeit from long range, but Chelsea saw the game out well to secure their passage into the final.

Benitez's men will now meet Portuguese side Benfica in Amsterdam and, while many have questioned their commitment to UEFA's second-tier club competition, the Stamford Bridge side now stand a real chance of bringing the trophy home.
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