Chelsea wins Europa League with late Ivanovic goal

By
Updated: May 15, 2013

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Chelsea added another European
trophy to its cabinet on Wednesday as Branislav Ivanovic scored in stoppage
time to hand the Blues a dramatic 2-1 win over Benfica in the Europa League
final.

Fernando Torres put Chelsea in front in the 59th minute, but Benfica equalized
through Oscar Cardozo in the 68th when he converted a penalty kick.

But much like last year’s Champions League final, Chelsea scored on a late
corner kick, this time to win the match.

Juan Mata swung the ball to the back post for Ivanovic, who created enough
space to head the ball back across the face of goal and inside the far post,
leaving Benfica goalkeeper Artur with no chance.

After losing the lead in the Portuguese Liga to FC Porto in similar fashion
over the weekend, Benfica was looking to Wednesday’s match as a way to
recover.

The Portuguese outfit was on top in the first 30 minutes, but failed to find
the net, while Chelsea’s best opportunity came with a well-struck shot from
Frank Lampard which Artur kept out with an awkward save.

Cardozo thought he had given Benfica the lead in the 51st minute when he
headed the ball home from eight yards, but the goal was pulled back for
offsides.

Torres finally broke the deadlock eight minutes later when Mata’s quick flick
in midfield released the striker, who rounded Artur inside the area and rolled
the ball into the empty net.

Chelsea gave the lead away in the 68th after defender Cesar Azpilicueta was
called for handling the ball inside his own penalty area, allowing Cardozo to
send goalkeeper Petr Cech the wrong way from the spot.

Cardozo forced Cech into an important save in the final 10 minutes, and
Lampard came even closer for Chelsea in the 88th with a shot that struck the
crossbar.

But with the game on the verge of extra time, Chelsea claimed its second
European trophy in as many seasons with the late goal from Ivanovic, while
Benfica was left heartbroken for the second time in a week.