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Blues set the ‘Bridge’ alive

Blues set the ‘Bridge’ alive
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Chelsea crushed FC Basel 3-1 on Thursday for a 5-2 aggregate semi-final victory to secure their place in the Europa League final against Portugal’s Benfica later this month in Amsterdam.

The reigning European champions, 2-1 ahead from the first leg in Switzerland last week, lost that advantage when Mohamed Salah scored for the Swiss champions with the last kick of the first half, curling his shot past Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

But interim coach Rafa Benitez’s men came storming back with three goals in nine minutes early in the second half.

Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz all scored - the curly-haired Brazilian with a stunning 25-metre curling shot that effectively ended Basel’s resistance after 59 minutes.

Frank Lampard, needing one goal to equal Bobby Tambling’s all-time Chelsea scoring record of 202, almost got it but hit the post with a fine strike in the ninth minute while Fabian Frei of Basel smashed the ball against the bar in the 63rd minute.

Chelsea will become the first club to follow up victory in the Champions League with success the next season in the Europa League if they win in Amsterdam and only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA’s senior trophies.

Despite failing to advance to the later stages of the Champions League, Chelsea played with the authority of champions against a well-disciplined and never over-awed Swiss side.

The Blues travel to Old Trafford on Sunday as they take on Manchester United in EPL showdown.
LISBON: Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo’s double fired Benfica into a Europa League final with Chelsea after they beat Fenerbahce 3-1 in Lisbon to win their semifinal 3-2 on aggregate.

Benfica took just nine minutes to cancel out Fenerbahce’s 1-0 lead from the first leg when Nicolas Gaitan clipped in Lima’s low cross.

The Portuguese were stunned when Dirk Kuyt levelled midway through the half from the penalty spot after Ezequiel Garay handled, an away goal for Fenerbahce meaning the hosts needed to score at least twice more.

Cardozo’s fine left-foot finish restored Benfica’s lead on 35 minutes in a breathless first half and his decisive strike came on 66 with another crisp low shot from inside the area.
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