Live Commentary: Chelsea 3-1 Basel (5-2 agg.) - as it happened

Chelsea players congratulate Frank Lampard after a penalty against Swansea on April 28, 2013
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Sports Mole's live text commentary of Chelsea's passage into the Europa League final at the expense of a spirited Basel.

Chelsea went into tonight's Europa League semi-final second leg with Basel holding a narrow 2-1 advantage on aggregate.

The Swiss side threw the tie wide open just before half-time, courtesy of a clinical strike from Mohamed Salah.

Fernando Torres and Victor Moses responded with quickfire goals for the Blues after the interval, with a stunning David Luiz drive soon after sealing a 5-2 aggregate win for Rafael Benitez's side.

Look back at an efficient display from Chelsea with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.


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7.02pmEvening European football fans. The Europa League marathon finally nears its conclusion tonight, with Chelsea just 90 minutes away from a second successive final on the continent. Basel are still alive in the tie but need a heroic display to overturn a 2-1 deficit and reach their first ever final in European competition.

7.04pmChelsea are firm favourites to reach Amsterdam after edging a dramatic finish to last week's first leg. With the last kick of the match David Luiz aimed a low free kick into the bottom corner to give Rafael Benitez's side a 2-1 advantage in the tie. Just moments earlier Fabian Schar had scored a controversial penalty for Basel, but they could not hang on in the closing stages.

7.06pmA 2-1 win in Basel ended a run of five matches on the road in Europe without a victory for Chelsea, but their home form is much more impressive. Benitez is yet to taste defeat in this competition at Stamford Bridge, while Murat Yakin's side are without an away Europa League victory this season.

7.08pmBasel can take heart from their performance in last week's first leg, which saw them recover form a horror start to put Chelsea under pressure for large spells. Yakin's side need a minimum of two goals to progress tonight, so expect to see an attacking display focusing on width and pace in the final third.

7.10pmThe Blues picked an experienced side in Switzerland last week and were rewarded with a 2-1 win. John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole all started that match, but Cole is ruled out tonight through suspension after being booked late on in Basel.

7.12pmEden Hazard played a starring role in an advanced central position last week, which will make Rafa's team selection very interesting this evening. Victor Moses was also impressive in a wide role and capped his display with an instinctive early goal. Both players will be desperate to play their part tonight but Benitez has plenty of options to choose from.

7.15pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! We have just received word of the starting XIs tonight, with Terry and Juan Mata missing out for Chelsea. In total Benitez has made five changes from the side which beat Swansea City 2-0 last weekend, with a full look at both starting lineups to follow in just a few moments.

7.17pmCHELSEA: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Lampard, Luiz, Ramires, Hazard, Moses, Torres

7.19pmBASEL: Sommer, Voser, Schar, Sauro, Steinhofer, Die, Stocker, F Frei, Salah, Elneny, Streller

7.21pmSo Chelsea captain Terry must settle for a place on the bench tonight, with Branislav Ivanovic partnered in central defence by Gary Cahill. Ryan Bertrand also starts at left-back with Cole suspended.

7.23pmLuiz and Lampard will form a defensive midfield pairing which worked so well for long spells in the first leg. Lampard also skippers the Blues on a night which will see him equal Bobby Tambling's record goal haul of 202 at Stamford Bridge if he finds the target. A brace would see the veteran claim the record outright, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

7.25pmRamires keeps his place despite being just one booking away from a suspension, with Mata left on the bench as the Spaniard was for last week's first leg. Moses and Hazard start in advanced positions to support lone striker Fernando Torres, who replaces the cup-tied Demba Ba in attack.

7.28pmBasel have been handed a major boost ahead of kickoff with forward talisman Marco Streller passed fit to start after a late check. Central defender Aleksandar Dragovic is out through suspension and replaced by Argentine youngster Gaston Sauro.

7.30pmYakin's side come into tonight's match on a poor run of form, which was compounded by a 3-0 home league defeat to FC Luzern last weekend. The visitors have just win from their last six matches in all competitions, but have managed to find the net nine times in that disappointing spell.

7.32pmTo have any chance of progressing tonight Basel need to recapture the form which saw them eliminate Spurs over two legs in the last round. The Swiss champions were particularly impressive at White Hart Lane, so have some experience of performing under pressure away from home against English opposition.

7.35pmThe key for Chelsea tonight is to stave off any thoughts of complacency. A strong team selection from Benitez does suggest that the Blues are in confident mood and fully expect to reach next month's Amsterdam showpiece.

7.37pmTonight's other semi-final tie is also finely poised, with Fenerbahce taking a one-goal advantage to Benfica after dominating last week's first leg. Benfica will be confident of overturning that narrow deficit however, after losing just three matches all season long!

7.39pmA positive result for Fenerbahce in Lisbon will see them reach their first ever European final, a feat Basel are also hoping to achieve against the odds tonight. Chelsea have become well versed in these showpiece nights in recent years and are chasing a third European final in just six years.

7.41pmWith just a single away goal between the two sides Chelsea will need to be on their guard throughout and have a strong bench to choose from if things don't go to plan. Mata, Oscar and Yossi Benayoun are all included among the home substitutes, with Terry also available from the bench if required. A full look at the substitutes on offer to both managers will follow in just a few moments.

7.44pmCHELSEA SUBS: Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Benayoun, Mata, Oscar, Ake

BASEL SUBS: Vailati, Park, Ajeti, David Degen, Diaz, Cabral, Zoua


7.47pmBenitez remained clinical in his analysis of Chelsea ahead of tonight's clash, choosing to sidestep questions surrounding the proposed return of former boss Jose Mourinho.

The Spanish manager was keen to stress the importance of taking Basel seriously tonight, saying in his pre-match press conference: "Winning a trophy is important to everyone. We are not in the final yet and we are playing against a tough team. I have to concentrate on my business, that is to beat Basel."

"Basel will come trying to score, they did it against Spurs and I am sure they will have the same approach. They need to score.

"We have a good team and we are so close to the final we have to be concentrated. I have a lot of confidence in my players."


7.49pmChelsea playmaker Mata appeared with Benitez yesterday and was at pains to insist his side remain wary of the threat Basel pose.

He told reporters: "It's going to be a dangerous game. Even though we have two goals away, a great result, it's that kind of game that can be very risky.

"If we don't go into the game thinking about winning, thinking about defending well, thinking about trying to win again, it's going to be difficult. We still know we have to fight if we're going to be in the final.

"We got a great result in Switzerland, but now we have to play another 90 minutes and I'm sure they're not going to give up. They're a team who try until the end. It will be tough, for sure."


7.52pmOne final batch of pre-match quotes ahead of tonight's action at the Bridge, with Basel manager Yakin admitting that his side need a "small miracle" to reach their first ever European final.

He said: "Chelsea are strong in defence and attack, we know that, but my team also have very good qualities, we showed what we are capable of against Tottenham.

"We will be brave, we'll play with confidence and, who knows, maybe we can achieve a small miracle."


7.54pmA factor that has so far failed to prevent Chelsea's march in the Europa League is fatigue. The Blues have now played 63 matches in all competitions in a marathon campaign, which has seen them compete in seven competitions. With just one trophy left to fight for can Benitez's side keep their foot on the accelerator tonight?

7.56pmFor all Benitez's detractors the Chelsea interim coach is aiming to reach a fourth European final tonight and has also won trophies on the continent with both Valencia and Liverpool. The Spaniard may on borrowed time at the Bridge but he remains on course to add the Europa League to a packed CV before he departs this summer.

7.58pmChelsea are also aiming for a little piece of history in the Europa League, with the chance to become the first side to win both European competitions in successive seasons. Success in this tournament would make the Blues the fourth side to win both trophies after Bayern Munich, Ajax and Juventus.

8.01pmPREDICTION! Basel need their first away win in this season's Europa League to stay alive but I think Chelsea will prove too strong this season. Players like Torres and Moses have used this competition to prove their worth in the knockout stages and both players are capable of scoring in a vital victory for the Blues.

8.03pmBoth sides are out at Stamford Bridge, with Basel in a changed white strip. A reminder that Chelsea lead the tie 2-1 on aggregate and will definitely qualify if they avoid defeat at home this evening.

2 minAfter a slight delay Basel get the match underway and immediately launch a long diagonal towards the far corner. Chelsea deal with the quick pass easily and decide to keep possession deep in the early going.

4 minSHOT! Very early on Basel get a sight at goal through Streller as Chelsea switch off in central defence. The forward has time to meet a looping forward pass but can only send a half volley well wide from just inside the penalty area. A golden opportunity for the visitors to score a precious away goal.

6 minAzpilcueta shows composure in defence to intercept a pass meant for the late run of Stocker, with Basel signalling an intent to attack right from the outset. At the other end trickery in the final third from Ramires finds Moses out wide, with the forward eventually winning a cheap free kick near the corner flag thanks to a cheap foul from Serey Die.

8 minLess than a minute later Serey Die races into a high challenge on Bertrand and forces the referee to award another free kick just beyond the halfway line. The Swedish official decides a stern word will suffice at this stage but the Ivory Coast midfielder is lucky to escape a caution even at this early stage.

10 minOFF THE POST! Frank Lampard has just come within inches of drawing level with Tambling's goal record. The midfielder ghosted in-behind to meet a clever flick from Torres and decided to take his shot early after beating the offside trap. His half-volley had Sommer beat but clipped the far post and bounced out, with Moses unable to turn home the rebound from a tight angle!

12 minBasel are quick to maintain their positive start and push both full-backs forward at the other end. Steinhofer had made a lively start down the right flank but is just unable to beat Moses and deliver in the final third.

14 minSCORE UPDATE! News of a quick goal in tonight's other semi-final, with Benfica leveling the tie thanks to an early strike from Gaitan. The Portuguese giants are now level at 1-1 with Fenerbahce with more than 75 minutes left to play!

16 minBack at the Bridge a clever run into the channel from Torres creates space in the final third, but the Spaniard is unable to pick out an advanced run from Hazard into the box as his pass is intercepted. Basel are quick to launch forward on the counter, but Stocker is held up near the corner flag, giving Chelsea the chance to regroup in numbers as Cech claims an aimless cross.

19 minSAVE! Chelsea enjoy a sustained spell of possession as Lampard, Torres and Hazard all enjoy touches in the opposition half. Another strong run out wide from Torres sees the forward share a neat exchange with Hazard before aiming a weak low shot towards the bottom corner. His effort is well placed and requires Sommer to tip round the post at full stretch for a corner kick.

21 minFrom the following corner Luiz is unable to make contact with a curling cross despite being unmarked at the far post in a lucky escape from Basel. Strong running without possession from Ramires soon sees the Blues regain control, with the home side now looking assured after a slightly nervous start.

23 minMoses wins a corner kick after a positive run down the left flank. Lampard's delivery beats a number of players and bounces inside the six-yard box before eventually being cleared by Stocker. Basel definitely look vulnerable from set pieces, which is hardly a closely-guarded secret after they conceded twice from similar situations in the first leg.

25 minChelsea keep the pressure on as Lampard sends a looping cross towards the far post, but an attempt from Moses to chest into the path of Torres sends the ball out harmlessly for a goal kick. Basel are now struggling to clear their lines and keep possession with any real conviction in the opposition half.

27 minCahill puts in a strong challenge on Stocker, winning the ball cleanly before catching the winger with an over-zealous follow through. After a short break for the Basel winger to receive medical attention he seems alright to continue.

29 minSHOT! A quite wonderful effort on the volley from Streller sails just wide of the far corner, with a strike reminiscent of Marco van Basten from a tight angle. The forward watched a cross from Steinhofer all the way and connected perfectly, with his powerful drive flying just past Cech's far post.

31 minBasel use that effort as something to build on and win a corner kick as Cahill is forced to turn behind under pressure from Salah. Stocker's following cross is a huge disappointment and falls comfortably for Cech to claim under little pressure in the six-yard box.

33 minSCORE UPDATE! Another goal before the break in tonight's other tie between Fenerbahce and Benfica. Dirk Kuyt to bring the visitors level on the night and 2-1 up on aggregate with a crucial away goal.

35 minCHANCE! Back in West London the Blues have just spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead. A strong run from Hazard into the penalty area left three Basel players in his wake before a pass into the penalty area searched for Ramires. The Brazilian was at full stretch to meet the cutback but his connection was soft and allowed Sommer to save from close range.

37 minClever close control from El Nenny and Salah helps Basel win a corner kick, but Cech is out quickly to punch the cross clear at his near post. At the other end Azpilicueta decides to try his luck from range, but sends a tame low effort well wide of Sommer's far post from 30 yards.

39 minA rare wasteful cross from Hazard fails to pick out any of three Chelsea players who had made forward runs, with Lampard standing unmarked inside the penalty area. Basel continue their positive approach when they regain possession, but Bertrand just does enough to see off Steinhofer in an advanced position out wide.

41 minSAVE! Basel have just had without question their best opening of the night. Salah's run into the final third forced a strong save from the onrushing Cech, with Stocker's shot on the rebound blocked clear by Bertrand. The visitors want handball against Bertrand, but the referee waves away fierce protests from the Basel bench.

43 minSCORE UPDATE! There has been another goal at the Stadium of Light, with Oscar Cardozo bringing Benfica level at 2-2 on aggregate against Fenerbahce. The home side need another goal to progress after a frantic opening to the second leg in Lisbon!

45 minChelsea take the sting out of Basel's recent revival by maintaining possession for prolonged spell in the final third. Lampard eventually attempts a tricky forward pass in search of Ramires, which is intercepted by Voser just inside the penalty area.

45 min+1GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Basel (Salah)

45 min+2Right on the stroke of half-time Salah has beaten a static Chelsea offside trap to turn home from close range after being picked out by a precise pass from Stocker. Yakin's side have been rewarded for a positive approach and are now within a single goal of progressing to their first ever European final.

8.55pmHALF-TIME Chelsea 0-1 Basel (2-2 on aggregate)

8.57pmAfter a fairly routine first 45 minutes for Chelsea conceding in stoppage time has thrown the tie wide open. Basel have shown attacking intent from the outset, with Salah, Stocker and Streller all showing glimpses of quality on the counter.

8.59pmChelsea look a potent threat going forward but have too often failed to show composure with a final pass. Lampard struck the post early on for the Blues, but Benitez must be concerned with his side's slack marking at times throughout the first period.

9.01pmAt present this scoreline is just about good enough for Chelsea to reach the final, but the tie is now finely poised and another Basel goal puts the Blues at a huge disadvantage. There are definitely more goals there to be had at both ends, with Basel's commitment to chasing the match leaving them open on the counter.

9.03pmChelsea have a number of experienced players at their disposal on the bench and may well be forced to use that advantage after the break. Mata and Oscar could help the Blues keep possession in midfield, while Terry could be introduced to keep things tight in the closing stages.

9.05pmBasel should come out after the interval full of confidence after a spirited first-half display. The Swiss side are causing problems with their ability to switch a clever three-man attack and definitely look capable of creating more chances to score. Stocker in particular is a player with fantastic close control and his runs inside the channels have kept the Chelsea rearguard busy in both legs.

9.07pmSEMI-FINAL UPDATE! A reminder that in tonight's other semi-final Fenerbahce trail 2-1 on the night against Benfica after a frenetic first period. The Turkish giants will still progress as things stand on the away goals rule, but there is a long way to go in Lisbon.

47 minChelsea get the second half underway and launch a long diagonal down the touchline, with Luiz's pass far too heavy for the chasing Azpilicueta to prevent a goal kick for the visitors. The Blues quickly regain possession and cross through Hazard, but his attempted pass inside is intercepted by Stocker.

49 minBertrand concedes a free kick just beyond the halfway line, giving Basel the chance to send numbers forward. A clever exchange out wide between Voser and Stocker sets up Sergey Die for a strike just outside the penalty area, but his scuffed effort falls well wide of the top corner.

51 minGOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Basel (Torres)

53 minA stunning solo run from Hazard has helped Chelsea create a crucial goal on the counter. The Belgian beat three players before eventually being stopped just inside the penalty area, but Lampard pounced quickly to strike low towards the bottom corner. Sommer did just enough to parry wide, but Torres was on hand to follow up and tap home his 20th of the season from close range.

55 minGOAL! Chelsea 2-1 Basel (Moses)

57 minThe persistence of Moses has put Chelsea well and truly on course to reach Amsterdam. The forward had his first shot from close range charged down, but reacted quickest to meet the loose ball and find the far corner from close range. That is the Nigerian's fourth goal in six matches and two in as many minutes now have the Blues in complete control of the tie.

59 minYELLOW CARD! Azpilicueta has just picked up the game's first caution for a clumsy late tackle on Sauro. His late lunge caught the central defender with studs to shin and is worthy of a booking.

61 minGOAL! Chelsea 3-1 Basel (Luiz)

63 minA quite magnificent strike from distance by Luiz has effectively put this tie beyond doubt. With the home crowd urging Lampard to shoot the midfielder instead elects to pick out Luiz around 25 yards from goal. The Brazilian looks up and sends an unstoppable curling drive into the top corner, with a strike full of swerve and venom. The Blues have survived a real scare and are now comfortable with a three-goal advantage on aggregate.

65 minSUBSTITUTION: Basel decide to make a desperate double change, with David Degen and Zoua coming on for Streller and Stocker. Yakin has probably just taken off his two best players and the Swiss champions now look unlikely to produce a miracle comeback.

67 minOFF THE POST! Fabian Frei must have heard me and decides to unleash a thunderous drive towards the top corner. His strike swerves considerably and ends up crashing off the far post, with Cech reduced to the role of spectator in the Chelsea goal. That is desperately unlucky for Basel, who continue to flood forward but now look well beaten.

69 minSUBSTITUTION: With Ramires one booking away from missing the final Benitez decides to protect his Brazilian midfielder, sending on Oscar with 20 minutes left to play.

71 minYELLOW CARD! Schar loses his cool and hauls Torres to the ground around 25 yards from goal, picking up a booking and a European suspension in the process. Lampard is hurried forward to the the resulting free kick, but with headline writers waiting expectantly the midfielder blasts a wayward effort high and wide.

73 minYELLOW CARD! Steinhofer follows Schar into the referee's notebook after cynically bringing down Hazard on the halfway line. The Belgian had plenty of space to accelerate towards and the full-back decides to take no chances, receiving a caution in the process.

75 minSCORE UPDATE! News of another goal in Lisbon and a second strike from Oscar Cardozo has put Benfica 3-2 ahead on aggregate against Fenerbahce. As it stands the Portuguese giants will qualify for next month's final and meet Chelsea in Amsterdam.

76 minHazard shows superb vision to spot Sommer off his line and attempt a chip into the top corner from at least 20 yards. The Belgian's effort is precise but lacks power and allows the Basel keeper to scramble backwards and avoid embarrassment with a comfortable catch.

78 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Chelsea make a second change to rest Hazard, despite Luiz and Bertrand being a yellow card away from missing the final. Mata in on to replace his midfield colleague behind Torres, with Basel also swapping Frei for Chilean playmaker Marcelo Diaz in their final change.

80 minDie continues to fight for Basel in midfield, both with and without the ball. The Ivorian bombs forward and has time to shoot from 20 yards, but can only test Cech with a low strike that lacks power and is saved easily. Diaz is next to try his luck from range with a deflected drive, which Cech is forced to turn wide for a corner kick after adjusting late.

82 minAfter a delay caused by stewards moving across the corner flag Diaz's corner kick is flicked on by a towering leap at the near post from Schar. Unfortunately for Basel no visiting player anticipates the flick and Chelsea are able to clear with relative ease at the far post.

85 minSUBSTITUTION: Chelsea decide to protect Luiz in the closing stages, with the Brazilian a booking away from missing the final through suspension. Nathan Ake is brought on to replace Luiz late on in his appearance in the Europa League knockout stages.

87 minSAVE! Good hustle from Torres robs possession in the penalty area and finds Mata in space just inside the box. The Spaniard's powerful strike is just central enough for Sommer to make an acrobatic stop.

89 minAt the other end Zoua attempts a curling strike from just outside the penalty area, but under pressure his effort never looks like turning inside the far post and drifts well wide.

90 min+1YELLOW CARD! Just shy of stoppage time Basel midfielder Die finally receives a long overdue caution after bringing down Oscar with a physical challenge without coming close to winning the ball. Chelsea break quickly as a result, but Torres can only send a tame central effort straight to a relieved Sommer.

90 min+3Oscar has time and space to pick out two unmarked players at the far post but his cross has far too power and drifts beyond Torres for a goal kick. The Brazilian quickly gets another chance to play in Torres and gets it right with a quick pass, but once again the Spanish striker's soft effort is tipped wide by Sommer at his near post.

9.56pmFULL-TIME Chelsea 3-1 Basel (5-2 on aggregate)

9.59pmAfter an early scare a fine second-half display from Chelsea has proved enough to reach the Europa League final. Goals from Torres, Moses and Luiz mean that Rafael Benitez will have a chance to make sure the Blues finish a marathon campaign with silverware.

10.01pmThat just about does it for Sports Mole's coverage from Stamford Bridge, with just time to bring you news that Benfica still lead Fenerbahce in the other semi-final with five minutes of stoppage time left to play. Be sure to stick around for coverage of that match plus analysis of Chelsea's victory over Basel in around 30 minutes. Goodnight!

Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates scoring against FC Basel on April 25, 2013
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