Chelsea vs. Basel, Europa League semifinal: Final score 3-1, Blues advance to Amsterdam

Scott Heavey

Chelsea advanced to the Europa League final with a 3-1 (5-2) victory over Basel, making the most of a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Switzerland and killing off the visitors in the second half with a flurry of goals. It wasn't quite as easy as it should have been -- Basel played pretty well towards the end of the first half and managed to draw level on aggregate though Mohamed Salah -- but there never felt like much risk of the team falling apart and failing to get through.

We'll get the bad parts out of the way first: The defence and midfield kept letting Basel through. Petr Cech came up big against Salah in the 39th minute, but he couldn't do much about the goal. And had Basel showed a bit more composure in front of the net, they'd almost certainly have had more. The issues were that a) the fullbacks seemed thoroughly disconnected with the centre back pairing of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic and b) that the pivot seemed confused on what they were supposed to be doing with Basel on the ball. Cesar Azpilicueta in particular had a poor match.

On the plus side, Eden Hazard was excellent, while Victor Moses and Fernando Torres both got goals. Chelsea might have finished the match off early had Yann Sommer not saved from Ramires and Torres -- the Blues were creating chances in the first half, even if it did finish 1-0.

Oh, and speaking of first half chances, Lampard came within a post width of notching goal 202 in the seventh minute after a clever flick from Torres set him up. I really can't wait for that goal to come; that shot looked like it was going in for a second and it really did look like we were about to see history.

David Luiz remains amazing. Check it:


via @brocadfael

It's pretty hard not to be totally in love with him. Don't try to resist it.

Benfica are our Europa League final opponents after they beat Fenerbahce 3-1. Shouldn't be too scary without any suspensions.

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