Match Analysis: Chelsea 3-1 Basel (5-2 agg.)

Chelsea's Fernando Torres celebrates scoring against FC Basel on May 2, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole dissects Chelsea's pivotal Europa League tie against Basel at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea went into tonight's Europa League semi-final second leg against Basel as firm favourites to progress, thanks to a 2-1 success in Switzerland last week.

Murat Yakin's men were positive from the outset at Stamford Bridge as they chased the tie, and scored just before the interval through Mohamed Salah.

Any nerves at Stamford Bridge were quickly extinguished after the break by two goals in as many minutes from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses.

David Luiz added gloss to the scoreline soon after and ensured Chelsea's safe passage to the final in Amsterdam with a stunning strike from range.

Here, Sports Mole dissects a stern test of Chelsea's European credentials as they progressed 5-2 on aggregate.

Match statistics:

Chelsea:
Shots: 19
On target: 13
Possession: 51%
Corners: 7
Fouls: 6

Basel:
Shots: 21
On target: 9
Possession: 49%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

On reflection Chelsea were more efficient in possession and definitely deserved to edge the tie over two legs, despite stubborn resistance from a thoroughly entertaining Basel side. A clinical period early in the second half proved decisive and allowed the Blues to demonstrate their quality and composure to deadly effect in the final third.

Chelsea's performance

After a sloppy first period the Blues were ruthless after the break, linking the play with quick, fluid passes when it mattered most. Early on Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic struggled to cope with the attacking movement of Basel's front three, which ultimately created the game's opening goal. After the break Frank Lamaprd and Eden Hazard were far more effective in possession, while Fernando Torres was tireless in a determined display in attack.

Basel's performance

The visitors pressed high and looked to attack in numbers and chase the game right from the first whistle. Valentin Stocker and Marco Streller showed glimpses of quality in the final third, while Salah linked midfield and attack with poise and deserved his well-taken goal. Ultimately the Swiss champions were a shambles defensively and paid a heavy price after the break, with a deep back four unable to cope with Chelsea's relentless march towards the penalty area. Basel can still take plenty of heart from a spirited display and look to return to European competition stronger next season after a superb run to the final four.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Eden Hazard: The Belgian playmaker was instrumental in everything Chelsea did right tonight and just shades Luiz and Torres to claim the award. The Belgian helped create a pivotal Torres equaliser and drove forward with pace and purpose throughout. Benitez has a real job on his hands choosing which of his midfield trio to play in a central position against Benfica in the final after Hazard's display this evening.

Biggest gaffe

A collective award for Basel's back four on this occasion as they conspired to implode early in the second half. Fabian Schar in particular was unable to track Torres for the equaliser, while as a team Basel threw away their chances of reaching first ever European tie through inept defending. Goalkeeper Yann Sommer must also take his share of the blame after only managing to parry a shot from Lampard, allowing Torres to tap home from close range.

Referee's performance

Jonas Eriksson was largely consistent throughout, stopping the game from boiling over by issuing regular cautions. Sergey Die was perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch after fouling consistently, while the visitors were desperate for a penalty against Ryan Bertrand for handball before the break. On the whole the Swedish only intervened when necessary, always the sign of an effective performance from the referee.

What next?

Chelsea: Rafael Benitez must prepare his side for a 12th match in 26 days, against newly-crowned champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. With the fight for Champions League qualification finely poised a positive result against United is imperative for the Blues as their marathon campaign shows no sign of letting up.

Basel: Yakin's side must return to their title defence as they bid for only a second win in seven games against Genaro Gattuso's FC Sion.

Chelsea players congratulate Frank Lampard after a penalty against Swansea on April 28, 2013
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