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

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

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.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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