Chelsea 3-1 (5-2) FC Basel - Amsterdam here we come!
It took us the half time interval to get our tempo going after conceding a goal just before half time but within 15 minutes or so from ...
It took us the half time interval to get our tempo going after conceding a goal just before half time but within 15 minutes or so from the re-start, this game was dead and buried and Chelsea head to Amsterdam to take on Benfica on Wednesday 15th May in the Europa League final!
It was always going to be one of those games tonight with Chelsea leading 2-1 after the first leg with two away goals scored. We knew Basel had to come out and attack us to score at least twice so it was interesting to who Rafa started in this one.
With Ashley Cole suspended and Demba Ba cup-tied he made two changes from the side that started the first leg in Switzerland with Ryan Bertrand coming in at left back and Gary Cahill in for John Terry.
So we lined up like this:
Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Luiz, Lampard(c), Ramires, Hazard, Moses and Torres.
I thought Chelsea played well in the first half but without stepping up a gear. We had a couple of chances with most notably one from Frank Lampard who hit the post on the volley after a flicked pass over the top of the defence from Fernando Torres.
Torres himself forced the keeper into a save low down to his near post during the half but always remained busy and caused Basel problems all night with his work rate and movement.
Basel were always in the game and created one or two half chances as Streller volleyed wide from a long ball over the top and Cech was forced to come off his line and deny their striker from close range as we looked slightly nervy for a moment at the back.
When Chelsea stepped up the tempo, Basel struggled to contain us but we didn't do it enough in the first half and were punished right on half time as we were caught square at the back and a ball played between the two centre backs found their forward who slotted the ball passed Cech who had no chance, straight into the far corner to make it 0-1 and 2-2 on aggregate.
Chelsea woke up and started the second half brightly. Eden Hazard once again playing in the number 10 role caused them problems whenever he had the ball but it was his run that brought about the first goal. He dribbled between two midfielders and towards the edge of the box, just as he saw the defender come out to tackle him on the edge of the box, he flicked the ball sideways to Frank Lampard. His shot was saved low down by the keeper but he couldn't hold onto it and Fernando Torres beat Ramires to the ball and struck it hard into the roof of the net to make it 1-1 (3-2 on aggregate).
Minutes later it, this time it was Victor Moses. A ball played out wide to Moses was controlled by him and on the turn beat his defender. Heading goal wards to the edge of the box he played the ball into Torres who's shot from the edge was half blocked but rebounded to Moses who took a touch to control the ball and then shot low down which was first blocked by the keeper but the rebound came back to him and he slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate).
As soon as the ball hit the net it was virtually game over but David Luiz stepped up to make sure of it in some style. Playing in the midfield role he has come accustomed to under Benitez, Luiz struck to kill Basel off. A ball played towards the edge of the box came out to Frank Lampard and he turned with his back to goal and laid the ball off to Luiz.
Without hesitation, Luiz took aim and struck a left footed curling shot into the top left hand corner of the net from 25 yards out with the keeper stranded to make it 3-1 (5-2 on aggregate) and it was world class. It was a wonder strike from Luiz and literally no one could have saved it!.
The game was dead and buried and despite Basel plugging away and blazing shots wide, high over the bar and even onto the woodwork at one stage, the game was over and Chelsea are through to their THIRD European final in six years.
Overall I thought everyone played their part and played well. Azpilicueta had an effective game again at right back, Ivanovic and Cahill worked well together but Cahill played better out of the two, throwing himself at the ball and blocking shots like a certain John Terry! Ryan Bertrand still has his moments but overall did OK.
Luiz and Lampard played it easy for the most part, just picking their passes and knocking the ball about. With Luiz on a yellow card and in danger of missing the final, he kept himself out of trouble. It was disappointing that Frank hit the post in the first half but I am sure his time will come to equal and then beat Bobby Tambling's record.
Ramires, Hazard and Moses worked hard and were effective in the final third when they needed to be. Eden Hazard has really come into his own of late and was a problem for Basel again.
For me, the man of the match in this one goes to Fernando Torres. His work rate and movement was excellent all night long and he got his 20th goal of the season. You can see a hunger and desire in him he never had before and he has that extra yard of pace back in his game.
He looked focused and confident with the ball at his feet and always looked to get forward and create problems. Let's hope it continues!
So there we have it, another final and a chance to create history as he first club to hold both European trophies at the same time. Benfica await with revenge on their minds for last season.
Chelsea have a massive chance to win this competition and a performance like the second half tonight should be enough!
Bring on Amsterdam!!
Carefree & KTBFFH!