Chelsea are the new Europa League champions after beating Benfica 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena. Fernando Torres rolled the ball into the net 15 minutes into the second half, however Chelsea’s lead lasted only nine minutes before a penalty shot from Oscar Cardozo blasted the ball straight past Cech.
Victory meant Chelsea is amongst a small group of clubs to win the European Cup, Europa League and the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup.
Benfica, smarting from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Porto in their domestic title showdown, started the game the brighter of the two teams and Paraguayan sharpshooter Cardozo headed over from close range in the second minute.
Chelsea gradually began to string some passes together and Torres put them in front with a goal reminiscent of his wonder strike in last season’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
A flick in the centre circle from Mata sent the Spaniard streaking clear and he calmly rounded Artur before slotting the ball into an empty net from a tight angle. Torres marked his goal by dropping to his knees and celebrating in Usain Bolt fashion by pointing his right arm skywards. Cardozo levelled for Benfica, driving the ball straight down the middle of the goal from the penalty spot after Cesar Azpilicueta handled in the area.
Both teams drove forward in search of the winner but it was a header from Branislav Ivanovic during injury time that decided this final and made sure interim manager Rafa Benitez picked up his first trophy as Chelsea boss.
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