For the second year in a row, Chelsea have won a European trophy.
The London side snatched the Champions League last season following their triumph over German giants Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.
This season, though, the Blues became the first title holders to exit the Champions League in the group stages, but their demotion to the Europa League eventually turned out to be the start of yet another miracle.
After winning five games out of eight during their Europa League campaign from the last 32 to the semi-finals, Chelsea ensured their run ended on a high by beating Portuguese titans Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam on Wednesday to lift the trophy.
Spanish striker Fernando Torres scored the opener on 60 minutes, before Oscar Cardozo equalised from the spot eight minutes later. But a clever header from defender Ivanovic sealed Chelsea’s fate as winners in the last minute, as Benfica went on to lose their seventh consecutive European final.
Yet, although the billionaire club were nothing less than impressive in the second half, one would consider them lucky to have escaped first-half punishments, as the Eagles clearly proved to be the better side in the first period.
But while Torres admitted that Chelsea did not play too well in the first 45 minutes, he concluded that their victory partly came from their intense desire of winning.
"I am very happy. It was a very tough game, and Benfica were much better in the first half," Torres told ITV. "The first half was not good enough at all. We really wanted to win this Europe League [though], and maybe this was going to be our only chance."
Torres, who took his tally to six goals in the competition, proved to be in form in the match. His team-mate Frank Lampard twice came close to registering his name on the scoring sheet, by way of thunderbolt efforts from long range in both halves.
The Englishman, however, praised Serbian defender Ivanovic, who happened to be the match-winner.
"No-one deserves this [Europa League title] more than Ivanovic. He has been fantastic," Lampard said.
Interim boss Rafael Benitez, who is anticipated to leave his place at Chelsea for Jose Mourinho at the end of the season, also commended his players for their struggles.
"That was a great performance in the second half, against a very good team,” he declared. “I am really pleased for the players and everyone involved.”
Chelsea host Everton this Sunday in the Premier League’s final round of matches - and the Blues will be hoping to collect three last points in order to finish ahead of rivals Arsenal and secure automatic qualification to next season’s Champions League.
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