Chelsea completes the 3 set of trophies-crowned Europa League champions

branislav-ivanovic-chelsea_1An injury-time goal from Branislav Ivanovic has seen Chelsea crowned Europa League champions with a 2-1 win over Benfica in Amsterdam.

The Serbian defender found the net from a corner with two minutes left on the clock to give the Blues a second European triumph in two years following last season’s Champions League success.The Portuguese side dominated much of the opening 45 minutes, refusing to allow Chelsea on the ball while creating plenty of chances in front of goal.

Oscar Cardozo put an early header over the crossbar before Nicolas Gaitan flashed his shot high and wide. Rodrigo then fluffed his lines from close range by slipping on the slick playing surface as Benfica overwhelmed their opponents in all areas of the pitch.

Chelsea showed some signs of life midway through the half and they managed their first attempt on goal with 28 minutes played as Oscar’s long-range effort was held at the second attempt by goalkeeper Artur.

Despite struggling to get into the match, a final opportunity of the half fell the way of Chelsea as Frank Lampard’s swerving drive was tipped over the crossbar by Artur.

Benfica started the second half where they left off in the first and they had a goal disallowed on 52 minutes when Cardozo was ruled offside by the narrowest of margins when he headed in Gaitan’s cross.

The deadlock was broken against the run of play on the hour as Fernando Torres burst past Luisao before rounding Artur to slot into an empty net.

However, the Portuguese side were level from the penalty spot seven minutes later through Cardozo following Cesar Azpilicueta’s handball.

Chelsea were appealing for a penalty of their own on 76 minutes when Torres was brought down by Luisao, but the referee waved away the appeals.

As the match became more stretched late on, Cardozo came close to putting Benfica ahead with nine minutes of normal time left, but his looping volley was kept out by the attentive Cech.

The game looked to be heading for extra time before Ivanovic got on the end of Juan Mata’s corner to see his header back across goal find the net.