Benfica 1-2 Chelsea (2012-13 UEFA Europa League Final)
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|2013 UEFA Europa League Final|
|Scoreline|| Benfica 1-2 Chelsea|
|Date||15 May 2013|
|Competition||UEFA Europa League|
|Referee||Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)|
The 2013 UEFA Europa League Final was contested between Chelsea and Portuguese side Benfica. The match was played on Wednesday 15 May 2013 at the Amsterdam Arena, the home stadium of Ajax. It was Chelsea's first appearance in a UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League final and the club's fifth appearance in a major European final overall. As reigning UEFA Champions League holders prior to the 2012-13 final Chelsea were seeking to become the first club to hold both European titles at once, albeit for 10 days. Benfica were competing in their ninth European final, but after winning back-to-back European Cups in 1961 and 1962 they had lost their last six final appearances in European competition, the most recent being the 1990 European Cup Final. Despite both Chelsea and Benfica having significant history and experience in European competition, the only previous competitive matches between the two clubs had come the previous season, in the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League, which the Blues won 3-1 on aggregate on their way to winning the tournament. Both clubs had exited the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League at the group stage, and joined the UEFA Europa League in the Round of 32.
Three players faced their former clubs in the final: Benfica's Nemanja Matić had moved to Portugal from Chelsea as part of the deal to bring David Luiz to Stamford Bridge, whose compatriot Ramires also played for Benfica before signing for Chelsea. The Blues would be without one of their star players for the final, Eden Hazard having picked up a hamstring injury in the dying minutes of a match against Aston Villa on the preceding Saturday. Ryan Bertrand was also injured, along with club captain John Terry, who would miss his second consecutive European final, this time due to an ankle injury rather than suspension. As had been the case for the entire competition Chelsea had limited options up front, with Demba Ba being cup tied. Benfica were relatively untroubled by injuries, but were missing right-back Maxi Pereira through suspension.
Chelsea won the match 2-1, the winning goal coming in the final minute of injury time; Man of the Match Branislav Ivanovic scoring with a looping header from a Juan Mata corner. Óscar Cardozo had earlier levelled from the penalty spot following a second half opener from Fernando Torres. The result meant that Chelsea became the first English club to win all three major UEFA competitions (European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League), and only the fourth club in history to do so, after Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich. 
Match reviewFrank Lampard effort from outside the area was Chelsea's most threatening moment, goalkeeper Artur managing to readjust in mid-air and help the ball over the bar. Five minutes into the second half Benfica had a goal ruled out following a marginal – but correct – offside decision, however Chelsea improved in the second period, with possession being much more even. Though Chelsea's possession play had improved after the break it was nonetheless a direct move that gave the Blues the lead; Petr Čech threw the ball forward to Juan Mata in midfield, whose faint touch played the ball into the path of Fernando Torres in the opposition half. The Spaniard raced forward and used his strength and body position superbly to hold off Benfica centre back Luisão before calmly taking the ball round Artur and slotting in from an angle to score his sixth goal in nine Europa League matches. The lead lasted for less than ten minutes. Benfica were gifted an opportunity to equalise after César Azpilicueta – who had made something of a habit of giving away penalties in the run to the final – handled the ball in the area, allowing Óscar Cardozo to equalise from the spot.
Both teams came close with long-range strikes in the final ten minutes; Cardozo had a dipping, volleyed effort tipped over the bar by Cech before Lampard smashed a venomous shot against the crossbar. With the teams still level as the match entered 3 minutes of injury time, Ramires showed typical energy and persistence to win a corner, giving Chelsea what seemed to be a last chance as extra time approached. Juan Mata swung the ball over to the far post where Ivanovic headed the ball at the perfect angle to loop back across goal and into the far corner of the net as a helpless Artur looked on. With the goal being scored in the last minute of injury time the match appeared won, but Benfica almost had a chance to equalise immediately; Gary Cahill denying Cardozo with a last ditch clearance as the Paraguayan international was shaping to slot the ball past Cech from close range. The final whistle soon followed as Chelsea finished yet another turbulent season on a high.
| 15 May 2012|
|Benfica||1 - 2||Chelsea|| Venue: Amsterdam Arena|
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
|Cardozo 68' (pen)|| Torres 59'|
Road to the Final
Chelsea entered the competition at the Round of 32 stage, having finished in third place in Group E of the UEFA Champions League.
|2012-13||Thu||14||Feb||2013||Round of 32 1st Leg||Sparta Prague||Away||Won||1-0|
|2012-13||Thu||21||Feb||2013||Round of 32 2nd Leg||Sparta Prague||Home||Drew||1-1||(2-1 aggregate)|
|2012-13||Thu||7||Mar||2013||Round of 16 1st Leg||Steaua Bucharest||Away||Lost||0-1|
|2012-13||Thu||14||Mar||2013||Round of 16 2nd Leg||Steaua Bucharest||Home||Won||3-1||(3-2 aggregate)|
|2012-13||Thu||4||Apr||2013||Quarter Final 1st Leg||Rubin Kazan||Home||Won||3-1|
|2012-13||Thu||11||Apr||2013||Quarter Final 2nd Leg||Rubin Kazan||Away||Lost||2-3||(5-4 aggregate)|
|2012-13||Thu||25||Apr||2013||Semi Final 1st Leg||Basel||Away||Won||2-1|
|2012-13||Thu||2||May||2013||Semi Final 2nd Leg||Basel||Home||Won||3-1||(5-2 aggregate)|
|Chelsea in Europe|
|Champions League: 1999–00 • 2003–04 • 2004–05 • 2005–06 • 2006–07 • 2007–08 • 2008–09 • 2009–10 • 2010–11 • 2011–12 • 2012–13 • 2013–14 • 2014–15 • 2015–16|
|UEFA Cup/Europa League: 2000–01 • 2001–02 • 2002–03 • 2012–13|
|Cup Winners' Cup: 1970–71 • 1971–72 • 1994–95 • 1997–98 • 1998–99|
|Fairs Cup: 1958–60 • 1965–66 • 1968–69|
|Super Cup: 1998 • 2012 • 2013|
|European Cup: 1955–56|