The clubs in Europa League action this Thursday had a hard act to follow following the entertainment that was on offer in the Champions League ties between Bayern and Barca and Real and Dortmund; but Europe’s second cup competition didn’t disappoint, with plenty of goals and plenty of intense footballing action taking place during Chelsea’s game against Basel and Benfica’s hosting of Fenerbahce. Read on for a review of the two semi-final second legs, and learn who has made the final of the Europa League this season (aggregate scores in brackets):
Benfica 3 (3) vs (2) 1 Fenerbahce
Benfica showed the value in never giving up as they overturned a first leg deficit to defeat Fenerbahce and march into the Europa League final.
Nicolás Gaitán got the early goal for Benfica that made the tie all square after only 9 minutes, but the Portugese side were soon behind again after a penalty converted by Dirk Kuyt. It looked at that point like Fenerbahce were going through as Benfica needed to score twice in order to combat the away goals rule; but Benfica superstar Oscar Cardozo took over to break Turkish hearts and book a spot in the final at the Amsterdam Arena on the 15th May.
Chelsea 3 (5) vs (2) 1 FC Basel
Whilst the game at the Estádio da Luz was a bit of a nailbiter, the same cannot really be said of Chelsea’s home tie against Swiss outfit FC Basel. The Blues brought 2 away goals into the tie and consequently things were always going to be difficult for Basel, but given that Basel overcame a strong Spurs side in the last round, it would have been folly to assume that this would be a walkover for Chelsea.
And indeed it was no walkover – Mohamed Salah opening the scoring just before halftime to make the tie all square again. A few nervous second half minutes ensued for Chelsea before 3 goals in 9 minutes killed the game off and ensured that Chelsea progressed into the final. Torres opened the scoring to continue his run of form, with Victor Moses also netting along with David Luiz, who scored an absolute screamer.