Match Analysis: Basel 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates scoring against FC Basel on April 25, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole dissects a 2-1 win for Chelsea in their Europa League semi-final first leg after a thrilling finale at St Jakob-Park.

Chelsea travelled to Switzerland for their Europa League semi-final first leg against FC Basel tonight, hoping to end a run of four defeats from their last five matches on the continent.

Victor Moses put the Blues ahead early on as they looked comfortable for large spells in a composed display.

Late on Basel were handed a contentious penalty, which was duly dispatched by Fabian Schar to draw the Swiss champions level.

With the final kick of the match Chelsea snatched a winning goal when David Luiz sent a low free kick into the bottom corner.

Here, Sports Mole dissects just how the Blues were able to successfully build a 2-1 lead ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week.

Match statistics:

Basel:
Shots: 13
On target: 3
Possession: 58%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 13

Chelsea:
Shots: 16
On target: 9
Possession: 42%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 9

Was the result fair?

On reflection Chelsea were in control for large parts of the match and probably deserved their two away goals, despite defending from deep throughout the second half. Basel will feel hard done by after a rousing late fightback, but in truth the home side were only able to create one clear-cut opportunity despite probing for most of the tie.

Basel's performance

After a shocking start Murat Yakin's side grew in confidence and showed flashes of quality in wide areas. Valentin Stocker was hurried but forceful in the final third, while Fabien Frei produced a composed display in midfield. Defensively the home side struggled to defend crosses throughout, a fault ruthlessly exposed with the opening goal. Overall the Swiss champions should have cause for optimism that they are capable of scoring at Stamford Bridge to reignite the tie.

Chelsea's performance

Rafael Benitez's side were disciplined, compact and broke with pace and purpose throughout the first half. Eden Hazard was a constant menace in a central role, while David Luiz and Frank Lampard provided effective protection for the back four. In the second half a stretched match saw Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta tested more frequently, with the equaliser on the cards despite the controversy surrounding the goal when it came. Chelsea led for more than 70 minutes and despite the game's dramatic conclusion the Blues used their experience to build an impressive advantage.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Victor Moses: The winger attacked with intent every time he got the ball and produced a composed, diligent performance throughout. He also provided support for the returning Cole throughout, taking the pressure off with menacing pacy bursts into the final third. On this evidence the Nigerian international is back to his best and pushing for a regular start in the Premier League.

Referee performance

Czech official Pavel Kralovec made two extremely poor decisions in the closing stages. After failing to show Luiz a red card for lunging in with his studs he awarded a penalty after Azpilicueta tangled with Stocker. The full-back cleanly cleared the ball but was somehow harshly penalised despite appearing to make a timely interception.

Biggest gaffe

Kralovec is more than worthy of this accolade for an inexplicable penalty award, with Yann Sommer coming in at a close second place for failing to stop Luiz in stoppage time. The goalkeeper had a largely impressive game, but all his hard work was undermined as he was caught out at his near post after taking up a poor position behind his wall.

What next?

Basel: Yakin's side return to their title defence on Sunday against rivals Lucerne, before preparing for next week's return at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea: The Blues must change their focus on the fight for a top-four finish this weekend, as Swansea City travel to West London.

Chelsea's Victor Moses celebrates scoring against FC Basel on April 25, 2013
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Live Commentary: Basel 1-2 Chelsea - as it happened
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea26203355193663
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs26158350183253
3Manchester CityMan City25164551292252
4Arsenal25155554282650
5Liverpool25147454302449
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd25139338211748
7Everton26128642271544
8West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2611783632440
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113544-933
10Stoke CityStoke2688103040-1032
11Burnley2694132837-931
12Watford2687113043-1331
13Southampton2586112831-330
14Bournemouth2675143651-1526
15Swansea CitySwansea2673163257-2524
16Middlesbrough26410121928-922
17Crystal Palace2664163346-1322
18Leicester CityLeicester2556142443-1921
19Hull City2656152350-2721
20Sunderland2654172448-2419
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