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Europa League - Routes to the final

We look at how Chelsea and Benfica got to the Europa League final.

Last Updated: 16/05/13 at 18:24 Post Comment

Fernando Torres helped turn the semi-finasl against Basle

Fernando Torres helped turn the semi-finasl against Basle

CHELSEA

The Blues began the season as defending champions in the Champions League, but fell into the Europa League.

February 14, 2013: Europa League last-32 first leg v Sparta Prague (A) W 1-0

Substitute Oscar struck seconds after entering the fray as Chelsea claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since December to triumph in their first Europa League outing.

February 21, 2013: Europa League last-32 second leg v Sparta Prague (H) D 1-1 (Chelsea won 2-1 on aggregate)

Chelsea again had to rely on a substitute to beat Sparta, as Eden Hazard netted in stoppage time to avoid extra time and the prospect of an embarrassing European exit on home turf.

March 7, 2013: Europa League last-16 first leg v Steaua Bucharest (A) L 1-0

Benitez's side suffered a lacklustre defeat to Steaua Bucharest in the Blues' 50th game of a turbulent season, as Raul Rusescu converted a penalty after being pulled down by Ryan Bertrand.

March 14, 2013: Europa League last-16 second leg v Steaua Bucharest (H) W 3-1 (Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate)

Torres scored the decisive goal but also missed a penalty as Chelsea overturned a first-leg deficit to advance. Juan Mata levelled the tie and John Terry was also on target.

April 4, 2013: Europa League quarter-final first leg v Rubin Kazan (H) W 3-1

Torres scored twice as Chelsea seized the initiative, while Moses was also on target, but the Russians replied when Bebras Natcho converted a penalty after Terry was adjudged to have blocked a shot with his arm.

April 11, 2013: Europa League quarter-final second leg v Rubin Kazan (A) L 3-2 (Chelsea won 5-4 on aggregate)

Torres and Moses were on target as Chelsea, spared the long trek to Tatarstan, progressed despite defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

April 25, 2013: Europa League semi-final first leg v Basle (A) W 2-1

David Luiz's last-gasp free-kick earned Chelsea a narrow victory. Moses' opener was cancelled out by a Fabian Schar penalty before Luiz's strike.

May 2, 2013: Europa League semi-final second leg v Basle (H) W 3-1 (Chelsea won 5-2 on aggregate)

Chelsea came from behind to triumph, with Torres, Moses and an exquisite Luiz goal securing victory and passage to the May 15 Europa League final in Amsterdam.

BENFICA

February 14, 2013: Europa League last-32 first leg v Bayer Leverkusen (A) W 1-0:

Having finished third in Champions League Group G behind Barcelona and Celtic, Benfica began their Europa League campaign in Germany. Oscar Cardozo's second-half strike was enough to ensure Benfica took a slender advantage into the second leg, with the Paraguayan tapping home an Andre Almeida assist.

February 21, 2013: Europa League last-32 second leg v Bayer Leverkusen (H) W 2-1 (Benfica won 3-1 on aggregate).

The hosts went ahead against the run of play through Ola John, before the highly-rated Andre Schurrle levelled the scores on the night. There was to be no Bayer comeback, though, as former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic settled the tie.

March 7, 2013: Europa League last-16 first leg v Bordeaux (H) W 1-0.

An unfortunate own goal from Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso was the difference between the sides on a night in which both teams struggled to create opportunities.

March 14, 2013: Europa League last-16 second leg v Bordeaux (A) W 3-2 (Benfica won 4-2 on aggregate)

The Portuguese side withstood Bordeaux's early attacks before snatching a lead through Jardel's header. Cheick Diabate gave the hosts a glimmer of hope with 16 minutes left but it was extinguished seconds later by Cardozo as Benfica made certain of the win. The teams exchanged further goals in the dying seconds, with Jardel scoring an own goal before Cardozo replied instantly with Benfica's third.

April 4, 2013: Europa League quarter-final first leg v Newcastle (H) W 3-1.

Jorge Jesus' side come from behind to emerge with a two-goal advantage heading to England. The Magpies were rewarded for a lively start to the game when Papiss Cisse put them 1-0 up in the 12th minute, and the Senegal striker then hit the post. Almost immediately after Benfica levelled through former Bolton forward Rodrigo, before Lima and Cardozo wrapped up victory.

April 11, 2013: Europa League quarter-final second leg v Newcastle (A) D 1-1 (Benfica won 4-2 on aggregate)

Eduardo Salvio ended Newcastle's hopes of continuing their European adventure as Benfica struck deep into injury time to prevent another late show. Cisse, who had earlier seen two efforts ruled out for offside, had set up a grandstand finish with a 71st-minute header, only for Salvio to slide home Rodrigo's low cross.

April 25, 2013: Europa League semi-final first leg v Fenerbahce (A) L 1-0.

A solitary goal by Egeman Korkmaz guided Fenerbahce to a narrow victory in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final. Korkmaz's goal 18 minutes from time was scant reward for Fener, who could have taken a more commanding lead to Portugal after Cristian Baroni hit a first-half penalty against the post, while Moussa Sow and Dirk Kuyt also rattled the frame of the goal.

May 2, 2013: Europa League semi-final second leg v Fenerbahce (H) 3-1 (Benfica won 3-2 on aggregate)

Cardozo struck twice as Benfica overturned a first-leg deficit to reach the Europa League final. The hosts got off to a great start at the Estadio da Luz when Nicolas Gaitan scored within nine minutes, before a Kuyt penalty pegged them back. However, Cardozo's slick finish restored Benfica's lead before the break and the Paraguay striker was in the right place again midway through the second half to slam home the crucial third goal.


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