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Second-half surge takes clinical Chelsea through

Published: Thursday 2 May 2013, 22.59CET
Chelsea FC 3-1 FC Basel 1893 (agg: 5-2)
A scintillating second-half display and three unanswered goals – a David Luiz screamer among them – took Rafael Benítez's charges through to the final.
by Trevor Haylett
from Stamford Bridge
Published: Thursday 2 May 2013, 22.59CET

Second-half surge takes clinical Chelsea through

Chelsea FC 3-1 FC Basel 1893 (agg: 5-2)
A scintillating second-half display and three unanswered goals – a David Luiz screamer among them – took Rafael Benítez's charges through to the final.

Chelsea FC found a purple patch of goalscoring brilliance for ten second-half minutes to ease through to the UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam on 15 May where they will face SL Benfica.

Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and a stunning David Luiz strike ended the London side's anxieties after Mohamed Salah had brought FC Basel 1893 level on aggregate on the stroke of half-time. It leaves Chelsea one victory away from becoming only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA's major club competitions.  

Both sides missed early chances – Basel as soon as the first minute when Marco Streller slashed wide. Chelsea were disappointed when Frank Lampard struck the upright and David Luiz missed his kick at the far post, and their frustration increased when Ramires failed to beat Yann Sommer from close in.

It is said that finishing is the weakest part of Salah's game and that was partially borne out by a missed opportunity in the 39th minute, although Petr Čech's sprawling save merited praise. However, the forward threatened again in first-half added time and on this occasion, fed by Valentin Stocker, he swept in imperiously.

Things had really come to the boil and a ferocious second half was anticipated. Instead, within 15 minutes Chelsea scored three times to make themselves supremely comfortable. The first began with a typical Eden Hazard run and when the ball fell to Lampard, Sommer was able to take the sting out of the shot but little else; Torres could not miss.

Two minutes later and it was Moses' turn to fracture the Basel defence with a run from out wide. Torres' shot was blocked but only as far as Moses, who scored at the second attempt. Basel suddenly looked a spent force and Chelsea were hungry to wreak more havoc. In the 59th minute another attack ended with Lampard teeing up David Luiz, who bent a wonderful first-time shot high into the net. 

Chelsea just needed to maintain their defensive discipline and a place in the final was theirs. Basel pressed but aside from a Fabian Frei shot which rebounded from the woodwork, there was no more joy for them.

Last updated: 25/09/14 3.23CET

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