Chelsea claim last gasp Europa League final win

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Football News

Branislav Ivanovic scored a towering stoppage time header to ensure Chelsea clinched the Europa League title after an absorbing encounter with Benfica at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.

Fernando Torres provided Chelsea with the lead after a run of great power and finish of expert poise, before Oscar Cardozo restored parity when he clinically dispatched of a penalty following Cesar Azpilicueta's handball.

Frank Lampard crashed a thunderous shot onto the Benfica crossbar with minutes left on the clock, before Ivanovic climbed above the opposition defence to steer his header into the top corner after tireless work from Ramires to earn a corner.

Chelsea had been dominated in the first period by their Portuguese opponents, and only a lack of a decisive touch in the Blues' area prevented Benfica from taking the lead, with Nico Gaitan and Cardozo both wasting chances.

Rafael Benitez's side almost took a lead before half-time that their play would hardly have warranted as Lampard hit a swerving shot from distance, but Benfica 'keeper Artur managed to propel the strike over the crossbar with a breathtaking save.

Benfica had the ball in the net in the second half after Cardozo's header found the bottom corner, but the Paraguayan was correctly judged to have been marginally beyond the Chelsea backline.

Perhaps inspired by this close shave, Chelsea surged forward with more purpose - epitomised in the goal from Torres as he shrugged off Luisao and rounded Artur before sliding the ball into an unguarded net.

Benfica were on terms less than 10 minutes later, however, as Cardozo sent Petr Cech the wrong way from the spot after the ball had bounced up onto the arm of Azpilicueta.

Chelsea came close from Lampard's rasper as the game appeared set to reach extra time, but Ivanovic powered the Blues ahead to claim a second European title in as many seasons.

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