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Fernando Torres' Breakaway Goal Puts Chelsea Ahead in Europa League Final (GIF)

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 15:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Final between SL Benfica and Chelsea FC at Amsterdam Arena on May 15, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterMay 15, 2013

If it's the Europa League, Fernando Torres is probably on the scoresheet. Wednesday's final between Benfica and Torres' Chelsea was no exception.

Torres, a 29-year-old Spain international striker, broke a scoreless tie with a well-taken second-half goal for Chelsea. The goal, which came in the 59th minute, set Chelsea on course to win their second European final in as many years after winning the Champions League crown last season.

Here's what happened. Midfielder Juan Mata flicked the ball to Torres, who escaped behind Benfica's defense. El Niño then held off the challenge of Benfica captain Luisão, rounded goalkeeper Artur Moraes and slotted into the empty net.

The goal appears in GIF form below (h/1 101 Great Goals). Enjoy.

The goal continued Torres's strong—but somewhat puzzling—run of great scoring form in the Europa League. The Spanish striker has not scored in the Premier League in 2013, but he has tallied six goals in his last six Europa League appearances.

This latest strike sparked the Europa League final to life. Neither team scored in the first half, though Chelsea's Frank Lampard came close with a swerving effort that briefly fooled Artur. Benfica enjoyed more possession in the first half but failed to convert any chances.

Benfica leveled the score eight minutes after Torres' opener, though. Oscar Cardozo converted from the penalty spot following Cesar Azpilicueta's handball in the box.

(GIF via 101 Great Goals)

With the game seemingly headed for extra time, Branislav Ivanovic won it for Chelsea in stoppage time with a stunning header from a corner.


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