David Luiz Belter Seals Europa League Semifinal Win for Chelsea

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David Luiz Belter Seals Europa League Semifinal Win for Chelsea

Chelsea scored three times in nine minutes to overturn a 1-0 deficit and seal their progression to this season’s Europa League final, where they’ll face Benfica in Amsterdam.

The goals, which came from Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz, represented the quickest treble in European club competition this season and helped Chelsea to a 5-2 aggregate win over Swiss champions Basel.

But it was the guests who attacked with conviction from the opening whistle, as Marco Streller’s daisy-cutter narrowly missed Petr Cech’s left-hand post after barely a minute. And while Frank Lampard hit the post in the ninth minute with a shot from distance, Streller came close again in the 26th with a superbly taken volley from Markus Steinhofer’s cross that, again, came close to finding its way inside the far post.

Then, with just a minute of normal time remaining in the first half, Mohamed Salah bagged a deserved opener for Basel.

Just four minutes earlier, the Egyptian international had been denied by a superb Cech stop (and Valentin Stocker might have even been awarded a penalty on a subsequent drive that looked to have hit Ryan Bertrand’s arm). Salah made no mistake on this occasion, though, accelerating past the offside trap to receive Stocker’s ball before finishing calmly past the Chelsea goalkeeper.

It was a different Blues side Basel had to contend with after the restart, however, and Torres began the onslaught after restoring level terms in the 50th minute with a tap-in following Yann Sommer’s initial save on Frank Lampard.

Two minutes later, Chelsea had turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage on the night and a 4-2 lead on aggregate. Then Victor Moses, pouncing on another rebound inside the area, beat Sommer from in close with his second effort after Gaston Sauro had blocked his first.

And to complete the triple salvo, David Luiz made it 3-1 to the hosts with an absolutely stunning goal just shy of the hour mark.

For a moment—as the midfielder dribbled the ball along the 18-yard box—it looked as though Frank Lampard was going to take a shot. But after seeing David Luiz flying into space, he left the ball for his teammate—jumped out of the way, actually—as the Brazilian unleashed a left-footed belter that arched magnificently inside the top corner of the Basel goal.

From there it was only a matter of holding on to what they already had, and while Torres had a trio of chances to build on the lead, Chelsea were able to cruise to the final whistle with relative comfort.

The Basel fans, who created an impressive match atmosphere throughout the 90 minutes, lit flares and a massive flag on fire during the final minutes, but there were to be no more fireworks on the pitch as Chelsea claimed the 3-1 win.

The London outfit now have a chance to become the first club to win the Champions League and Europa League in successive seasons (in that order) when they face Benfica in the May 15 final at Amsterdam Arena.

 

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