Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

David Luiz leads Chelsea's way to Europa League final with brilliant PlayStation goal

Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: (L-R) Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Ryan Bertrand and David Luiz of Chelsea celebrate as Fernando Torres (not pictured) scores their first goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
David Luiz of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their third goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England
Chelsea's Fernando Torres (right) and Basel's Fabian Schar battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Chelsea's Fernando Torres (left) celebrates with his his team-mate Branislav Ivanovic (right) after scoring his team's opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: A masked Fernando Torres of Chelsea looks on during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Frank Lampard of Chelsea looks despondent Mohamed Salah of Basel (22) celebrates with Mohamed Elneny (33) as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Ramires of Chelsea is surrounded by Basel players during UEFA Europa League semi final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Victor Moses of Chelsea (5R) celebrates with team mates as he scores their second goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Marco Streller of Basel reacts after a missed chance during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Mohamed Salah of Basel celebrates as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Rafael Benitez (R) the Chelsea interim manager instructs his players as Murat Yakin the Basel head coach looks on during UEFA Europa League semi final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Murat Yakin the Basel head coach looks on during UEFA Europa League semi final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Rafael Benitez the Chelsea interim manager looks on during UEFA Europa League semi final second leg match between Chelsea and FC Basel 1893 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Basel's Fabian Schar (left) and Chelsea's Fernando Torres (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea's Frank Lampard in action during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, Second Leg at Stamford Bridge, London

A brilliant left-footed strike from David Luiz capped Chelsea's successful passage into the Europa League final.

They will play Benfica, Luiz's old club, in Amsterdam on 15 May, their second European final in two years, after completing a 5-2 aggregate victory over Swiss side Basel. Rafael Benitez's side won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, conceding late in the first half but scoring three goals in 10 minutes early in the second half to go through.

Fernando Torres and Victor Moses had both scored from close-range rebounds before Luiz, playing again in midfield, curled an implausible shot with his weaker foot into the top corner from 20 yards. The Brazilian was once compared to a "PlayStation player" and his strike was as unlikely and spectacular as something from a video game.

The goal came just two weeks after Luiz had scored an equally astonishing strike, from 40 yards with his right foot, in a 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League.

Interim manager Benitez now has the chance to end his brief Chelsea tenure with a trophy. It would be the club's fourth European trophy, having won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998 and the Champions League last year. Benitez himself won the Uefa Cup with Valencia in 2004 and the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.

Mohamed Salah had put Basel ahead on the night in first-half added time, making it 2-2 on aggregate. Chelsea would have progressed on away goals even then but their second-half blitz made sure of progress. Torres converted on 50 minutes after Frank Lampard's shot was saved, Moses scored two minutes later after having an initial shot blocked, before Luiz's brilliant strike.

Benfica will join Chelsea in Amsterdam. The Portuguese side beat Fenerbahce 3-1 at home, 3-2 on aggregate, with two goals from Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo and one from Nicolas Gaitan.

Benitez rested Juan Mata, John Terry and Oscar ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester United. Chelsea are in third place in the Premier League, one point ahead of Arsenal and three ahead of Tottenham. They host Spurs at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.

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