John Obi Mikel (L), Juan Mata (10) and Ashley Cole mob Fernando Torres (2nd R) of Chelsea after he scored against Steaua Bucharest during their Europa League match at Stamford Bridge in London, March 14, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Chelsea won the Champions league a year ago and looks primed to follow it with an Europa league win. The team was in a favorable position throughout its match against FC Basel as a 1-1 tie on the road would give them a huge advantage returning home. However, a late goal from David Luiz almost guaranteed the team a berth in the final.
Chelsea got off to a quick start when Victor Moses headed in a corner cross from Frank Lampard. The score remained 1-0 after 45 minutes but early in the second Basel's Valentin Stocker nearly tied it. Stocker dribbled through the Chelsea and blasted the ball past a stranded goaltender Peter Cech. However, the ball rang off the post. Minutes later Chelsea's Fernando Torres rang a point-blank chance off the crossbar.
Basel eventually drew even at the 87th minute when Azpilicueta fouled Stocker in the penalty area. On the ensuing kick, Schar shot the ball down the middle past Cech. That goal seemed to save Basel but Chelsea's Luiz scored in stoppage time off a free kick outside the area. The low shot flew past the defensive wall and into the far post.
With the win, Chelsea has a major aggregate advantage thanks to the road goals. Basel will need to win by the same score at the Stamford Bridge in order to send the game to extra time. A 2-0 win would qualify them for the Europa league final. Chelsea has won 10, drawn four, and lost twice at home this year in the Premier league play; the team has only allowed 13 goals in those 16 matches.