Benfica 1-2 Chelsea: Branislav Ivanović Heads Late Blues Winner In Europa League Final (PICTURES)

Ivan The Wonderful

Chelsea defeated Benfica 2-1 in the Europa League final thanks to a dramatic late winner from Branislav Ivanović.

The Serbian stooped to meet Juan Mata's corner at the far post and his header floated over the hapless Benifca goalkeeper Artur to send the travelling Blues into raptures inside the Amsterdam ArenA.

Having failed to lift silverware in seven previous competitions already this season, Chelsea guaranteed a trophy to follow their Champions League success of last year.

Ivanović was suspended for last year's triumph in Munich, but was on hand to capitalise for European club football's consolation prize.

Ivanović celebrates his late winner

Fernando Torres coolly rounded Artur for a brilliant opener on 59 minutes, however César Azpilicueta's handball less than 10 minutes later enabled Óscar Cardozo to level from the penalty spot.

Referee Björn Kuipers dismissed Chelsea's appeals for a penalty on Torres before Petr Čech was alert to tip over a Cardozo volley on 83 minutes. Frank Lampard smashed the crossbar at the other end with an outrageous 25-yard strike with stoppage-time looming.

Deep into the three minutes added on, the dogged Brazilian midfielder Ramires won a corner, which allowed Mata to whip in the set-piece which led to Ivanović's looping header for a second European trophy in as many seasons for the Blues.

Maligned manager Rafael Benítez, ending his six months with silver, said: "It was a great performance in the second half but I'm pleased for the team and everyone involved."

Chelsea now join Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus in winning all three European trophies, including the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup.


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