Monday, July 28th, 2014

Ivanović heads Chelsea to Europa League glory

  ·   May 28, 2013 Last updated at 18:58

Branislav Ivanović’s towering header in the last minute of added time decided an Amsterdam final that hung gloriously in the balance throughout.

Ivanović heads Chelsea to Europa League glory

Ivanović heads Chelsea to Europa League glory

Branislav Ivanović’s towering header in the last minute of added time earned Chelsea FC a dramatic victory over SL Benfica as they captured the 2013 UEFA Europa League title.

A taut, absorbing Amsterdam final looked destined for extra time when the Chelsea centre-back peeled away from his marker at the back post to direct an imperious header into the far corner following Juan Mata’s corner. Benfica dominated the first 60 minutes before a moment of power and poise from Fernando Torres swung the game Chelsea’s way. Óscar Cardozo soon equalised from the spot but Ivanović had the last word.

Benfica controlled the first hour, Jorge Jesus’s fluid, offensive-minded side hypnotising the Chelsea back line almost to submission. They attacked with verve, a flurry of balletic turns and intricate interplays; they defended too – although until Torres’s intervention they did not have much of that to do. The script was only missing the final act as all too often they overcomplicated things, attempting one pass too many or fluffing their lines.

Rodrigo, a surprise starter, typified the Lisbon outfit’s play, popping up all over the pitch, almost always unaccompanied. His vision was panoramic, his passing laser-accurate, but in front of goal his feet lost their assurance. Literally so on 15 minutes when, having completely missed the first cross to him five metres out following a clever free-kick, he slipped as he attempted to convert the second.

Moments before he had blazed over, and Cardozo, Eduardo Salvio and Nicolás Gaitán were also guilty of failing to deliver the knockout blow as Chelsea, backed grimly into a corner, held on. The English side, with Juan Mata and Oscar combining well, always had a sucker punch in them. Frank Lampard so nearly provided one with half-time approaching, cutting in from the left and hitting a swerving shot that initially wrong-footed Artur.

The goalkeeper did well to adjust and turn the ball over with a strong hand, yet order was soon restored as Benfica kicked off the second half as they began the first, only this time they really threatened the breakthrough. It needed brilliant awareness from César Azpilicueta to steal the ball away from the onrushing Rodrigo after Cardozo had turned Gary Cahill, and moments later Cardozo did find the net, but his header was ruled out for offside.

Then came Torres’s hammer blow, whose innocuous origins must have made the pain even harder to bear. It was route one stuff as Petr Čech’s throw was flicked on by Mata to Torres, who showed great strength to turn his marker and hold off Luisão before rounding Artur and clipping in. Jesus moved swiftly, bringing on fresh attacking legs and in no time his team were level, Cardozo powering in from the spot after Salvio’s header struck Azpilicueta’s hand.

The game opened up, the pendulum swinging this way and that. Cardozo had a stunning half-volley tipped over by Čech and with two minutes left Lampard rattled the crossbar with a sumptuous shot full of swerve and dip. Extra time loomed, but Ivanović had other ideas with a dramatic winner that means Chelsea, for the next ten days at least, become the first club to hold the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League trophies simultaneously.





Chelsea eyeing high profile raid on Spain
Borussia Dortmund cancels Mario Gotze farewell
Roma vs Napoli 2-0 Highlights Match Report 2013
Real Madrid vs Olímpic de Xàtiva 2-0 Highlights All goals video
Arsenal vs Fulham 2-0 Highlights Match Report 18th January 2014
2015 Rugby World Cup fans won't be Segregated

Readers Comments (0)




Headlines







Transfer News

Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos to join Manchester United in the summer

Bayern Munich midfielder has hinted his team-mates he wants to join Manchester United at the end of the ...
Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos to Manchester United ?

EPL champion Manchester United were linked with Bayern playmaker Kroos. Though the deal has not been done yet ...
Ezequiel Garay

Manchester United Boosted in Bid to Sign Quality €20m Star

Manchester United manager David Moyes is looking to improve his side’s defensive department for next season. The Red Devils ...
luke shaw

David Moyes confident €30m will Lure Star for Manchester United

Manchester United manager is in search of quality defenders, mainly young ones to build the squad for next ...
Seamus Coleman

Good Riddance: Manchester United Plan Player+Cash deal to Sign Star

Manchester United supporters have seen the worst of midfield and defensive performances from their players this season. [caption id="attachment_8946" ...

Premier League

Hull City vs Everton 0-2 highlights all goals video final score

Hull City vs Everton 0-2 Highlights All Goals video.

James McCarthy scored his first Everton goal as they eased to a 2-0 win at Hull City on ...
Manchester City vs West Ham 2-0 highlights all goals video final score

Match Highlights: Manchester City vs West Ham 2-0 All Goals video

Manuel Pellegrini's side dominated from the first minute as they conquered any lingering nerves to secure their second ...
Sunderland vs Swansea City 1-3 highlights all goals video match report

Sunderland vs Swansea City 1-3 Highlights Match report Goals Video

Fabio Borini scored on what could be his final appearance for Gus Poyet's side but Nathan Dyer, Marvin ...


Categories