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Chelsea win the Europa League: Reaction and player ratings

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Never in doubt.
Never in doubt.
Christof Koepsel

So that happened. A last-gasp header from Branislav Ivanovic gave Chelsea a win against Benfica -- and our first trophy of the season. The Blues are currently the holders of the Europa League and the Champions League (until the 25th), making them the first English club to hold all three major European trophies. Neato.

Bullet points! (all .gifs via @brocadfael)

  • The match wasn't great, especially the first half, where Chelsea didn't really bother showing up, allowing Benfica to have all the time on the ball they could possibly have hoped for. It wasn't helped by a referee whose performance can be charitably described as being demented. Happily for the Blues, Benfica were merrily screwing up every chance they got save for their goal -- at one point Oscar Cardozo, presented with an open goal five yards out, shot backwards. Amazing.
  • Speaking of the goal, I have no idea what Cesar Azpilicueta was doing waving his arms around on the edge of the penalty area. It was still very bad luck that it a) hit him and b) was considered a penalty. Cardozo had earlier been denied a probably onside goal by the linesman, though.
  • Fernando Torres scored an awesome goal, doing a Drogba impression following Juan Mata's flick by blowing up both of Benfica's centre backs, rounding Artur and slotting into an empty net. It was really neat, and after that he went into confident-Torres mode.

  • Ivanovic's Drogba impression was better though. Third minute of injury time, corner, and boosh. Perfect header into the back of the net. Can't ask for much more than that.

  • Fair play to Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill as well -- the former nearly scored with a beauty of a long-range finish 88 minutes in which beat Artur and slammed off the crossbar, and Cahill saved the game with a last-ditch tackle on Cardozo just before full time.
  • Champions of Europe. Hurray!

Now rate the winners: