Chelsea face Benfica in Europa final
After beating FC Basel with a 5-2 aggregate, Chelsea could end the season with European glory.
LONDON - Chelsea's rollercoaster of a season could yet end with another night of European glory after they knocked FC Basel out of the semifinals on Thursday to set up a Europa League final against Benfica.
Goals from Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz in a nine-minute spell early in the second half gave Chelsea a 3-1 second-leg win over the Swiss champions at Stamford Bridge for a 5-2 aggregate success.
The reigning European champions and first holders of the European Cup who failed to advance from the group stage of UEFA's elite club competition, could finish the campaign with the glorious consolation of lifting the Europa League trophy instead.
Basel, trailing 2-1 after losing at home in the first leg last Thursday, levelled on aggregate when Salah scored after curling his shot past Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.
The opening goal came after a period of Basel pressure and followed a near-miss from Marco Streller who volleyed narrowly wide after 26 minutes.
Chelsea equalised when Torres scored in the 50th minute, powering a rebound off goalkeeper Yann Sommer who failed to hold Lampard's shot.
Less than three minutes later, Moses took advantage of a lucky bounce off a Basel defender before Luiz, who scored for Chelsea in the first leg with the last kick of the game, made it 3-1 with a stunning goal that left Sommer totally stranded.
Frank Lampard, needing just one goal to equal Bobby Tambling's all-time club scoring record of 202 goals, fired against the post in the ninth minute, while Fabian Frei also rattled Chelsea's bar with a fierce shot midway through the second half.
But in the end Chelsea ran out convincing winners and will head into their fifth European final on May 15 in Amsterdam following their victories in the old European Cup Winners Cup in 1971 and 1998, and their two appearances in the Champions League final which ended in defeat in 2008 and victory last season.
The last team to reach the UEFA Cup/Europa League and Champions League finals in successive seasons was Porto in 2003 and 2004.
The coach was Mourinho, although he achieved victory in the secondary competition before winning the Champions League the following year against Monaco.