Chelsea's Europa League victory as it happened

As it happened

By Mike Henson - BBC Sport

In summary

  • Chelsea are Europa League champions
  • Full-time: Benfica 1-2 Chelsea
  • Ivanovic scores with injury-time header
  • Cardozo levels from the spot for Benfica
  • Torres put Chelsea in front on 59 mins

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  1. 2235

    As Chelsea and their fans head off into the Amsterdam night to celebrate, Benfica contemplate the ashes of a once richly promising season. Presuming Porto do not slip on the final weekend of the Primeira Liga season, they must beat Vitoria Guimaraes in 26 May's Portuguese Cup final to salvage something silver from the manure.

    That's your lot for tonight. I'll leave you to start cropping and pasting scenes from history and Chelsea defenders. Thanks for your messages and catch you next time.

  2. 2228 graeme_le_saux_getty
    Graeme Le Saux - Former Chelsea defender on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Rafael Benitez managed the squad and the players look like they're together. That stems from the manager and he's galvanised that squad.

    "He deserves credit and it's a shame that some people want to tear that page out of the history books because of something he said a long time ago.

    "There's a will about the team. Tonight there was a combination of how he set the team out, re-motivated them and they had to have a look at themselves and they're a good enough squad and team to raise their team an put in performances that were double the first-half some of them."

  3. 2227

    Whoever is managing Chelsea next season will have some cracking options to bring back from loan spells to strengthen the squad, never mind any big money signings that owner Roman Abramovitch approves.

    Striker Romelu Lukaku, currently at West Brom, winger Kevin de Bruyne, currently at Werder Bremen, and goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, currently at Atletico Madrid, will all add something if they come back to Stamford Bridge.

  4. graeme_le_saux_getty
    Graeme Le Saux - Former Chelsea defender on BBC Radio 5 live

    "The squad is in transition and with John Terry and Frank Lampard, even if they do stay, it will still be relatively short term, so the team will continue to evolve and, having won tonight and getting in the Champions League, they will be able to attract players.

    "The club is in fantastic shape and it's just a shame through the way the club has operated that people still talk around the other issues.

    "Volatility is the norm and most people would ask how it can be success when it's unstable but Chelsea is the anomaly."


    Ruairi via text: Surely Terry deserves to lift the trophy. It's not like he was suspended, he got injured, he is our captain and deserves to lift the trophy!

    Ollie via text: As a Chelsea fan, I was as much against Benitez as the next guy, but he has done some very good things this season. Champions!

    Jack, Norwich, via text: Benitez to City? Personally I think Chelsea will win the league next year. United and City will both be in transitional periods whereas Mourinho will fit like a glove straight away.

  6. 2219

    Might there be a beautiful meeting of minds at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when Everton come to town for the final match of the season?

    Chelsea fans and Rafael Benitez could agree to disagree with the Spaniard saying that he like flags whatever they are made of and the Shed End saying they like winning managers whatever their previous allegiances.

    And then We Are the World plays over the tannoy and Benitez board the next flying pig back to the Wirral.


    Jack, Chelsea fan, via text: Let's give full credit to Rafa, he deserves it as much as the team, if it wasn't for Mourinho I'd sign him up any day!

    Tim, Liverpool, via text: Pleased for Chelsea but any success they achieve in the Abramovic era will unfortunately be tarnished by the knowledge that they have an owner who will cast aside morals and dispense of managers like they're worthless beings simply to achieve success.

    Adam, Exeter, via text: Now, I agree they've recovered the season well, but why is everyone going on about this "both trophies" thing? How many clubs who have won the CL have actually had the opportunity to win the Europa in the following year by getting knocked out of their group?

  8. spackman_getty
    Nigel Spackman - BBC Radio 5 live at the Amsterdam ArenA

    "I have friends who support Chelsea, they're businessmen, sensible people, and they just have a blank when it comes to Rafa Benitez. I wish they'd change their minds but they won't. I wish the fans would show him some respect.

    "It's the comment about the plastic flags that sticks with them. He's said he doesn't have anything to apologise for and he was defending his team. There are so many sub-plots but he needs the respect he deserves because he's won a European trophy."

  9. 2210

    Rafael Benitez is happily posing with various professional photographers and stewards for their own keepsakes of the day. Whatever you think of his tactics and his footballing loyalties, those are the actions of a decent fella.

  10. 2208

    For the next 10 days, Fernando Torres is a reigning World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and Europa League winner. If we play football until the end of human civilisation, will the planets ever align for one man like that again?


    Terry, Marylebone, via text: I love him but JT's having a laugh surely, collecting the cup again.

    Sean via text: Even on nights of European glory, John Terry continues to help make Chelsea the laughing stock of Europe. Must be a joke?

    Paul via text: European trophy and three places higher in league. If Chelsea fans still boo Rafa they're a disgrace to themselves and the club. Well done Rafa.

  12. 2205

    Branislav Ivanovic's header involved more hang-time than a whole Michael Jordan trainer advert. The Serbian international, had to run to the back post to get Juan Mata's set-piece into his sights, but once there his leap and precise placement back into the opposite corner was absolutely perfect. An old-school celebration from an old-school player as well - hollering, all clenched fists and mad eyes, in front of the Chelsea fans.


    Nazza: (external) Benfica were so good in the first 45 minutes and should have been ahead and didn't get ahead.

    JK: (external) Look at Rafa now. Walking around consoling Benfica players and staff. Chelsea should have stuck by him. Good manager and a good guy!

    Si: (external) Some truly great English managers never win a European trophy, yet in his first season with Liverpool and Chelsea, Rafa does it.

  14. phil_mcnulty_bw122x110
    Phil McNulty - BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at the Amsterdam ArenA

    "Benitez can leave on Sunday and say it was a job well done. He had to get them in the top four and he's done that, probably the top three, and this was no effort of tactical genius but you have to praise the players.

    "They showed remarkable resilience and dug in and won it. Benitez can leave with his head held high."

  15. 2159

    If the Champions League is the straight-laced older brother, all classic - but slightly predictable, good looks - the Europa League trophy is like the funky younger sibling - edgy, alternative and all the better for it.


    Muneer Khandwalla: (external) Roman Abramovich: 11 trophies, 10 years ownership, 9 managers.

    Olvija: (external) Ross Turnbull has won more European trophies than Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Charlie North: (external) Benitez has handled himself with aplomb throughout his time at cfc. For that Chelsea fans owe him the upmost respect.

  17. spackman_getty
    Nigel Spackman - BBC Radio 5 live at the Amsterdam ArenA

    "Rafael Benitez's CV looks fantastic with another European trophy. I know the management have been very happy with him and they didn't' realise the venom he would come across but in different circumstances he would be the Chelsea manager next year."

  18. 2154

    The silver and blue ticker tape flutters as John Terry and Frank Lampard make their way to the front of the group shot to hoist the Europa League trophy to the heavens.

  19. 2152

    Frank Lampard and John Terry, both in playing kit, only one with mud on his boots, are at the back of the line of Chelsea players heading up the Amsterdam ArenA steps to receive the cup.

    Chelsea lift the Europa League trophy
  20. 2151

    That victory means that Chelsea become the first club to hold both the Uefa Cup and the European Cup, or their modern incarnations, at the same time. They also join Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus as the only clubs to have won the Champions League, the Uefa Cup and the old Cup Winners' Cup.


    Jamie: I can't work out if John Terry's taking the mick out of all of us by getting kitted up again!

    T Gath via text: To all you CFC haters we hold both European trophies. Super Chelsea.

    Lisa, London, via text: Let's be honest no matter the managerial instability in Abramovich's era - the team have this incredible inbuilt refusal to accept defeat!! We weren't great but we know how to win!

  22. 2149

    Fernando Torres, speaking on ITV: "I am very happy. It was a very tough game, and Benfica were much better in the first half. The first half was not good enough at all. We really wanted to win this Europe League, and maybe this was going to be our only chance."

    Chelsea celebrate
  23. 2148

    Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, speaking on ITV: "That was a great performance in the second half, against a very good team. I'm really pleased for the players and everyone involved. We didn't have the legs in the first half, so we had to adapt. They players have worked so hard, all season. I am proud - it was not easy. I'm really pleased, really proud."

  24. 2148

    The bars of Amsterdam are calling on extra staff as we speak. There are some Chelsea fans in the mood to toast another European triumph.

    Chelsea fans

    David Weeks: (external) Delighted for Ivanovic - missed the CL final last year but makes amends this year. Thoroughly committed, a true professional.

    Greg Unitt: (external) Di Matteo wins Champions League, sacked. Rafa wins Europa League, getting sacked. Mourinho could win nothing and stay loved.

    Trevor Forde: (external) Say what you want about CFC, they win at least one trophy a season or are right there in the mix of things.

  26. 2147

    Frank Lampard, speaking on ITV: "It's been an amazing time for all of us involved. Talk about ups and downs in the last two years! But this is a big up. We're a group, a team, and it was tight tonight after the long season we've had. No-one deserves this more than Ivanovic - he has been fantastic. You make your own luck, and we stick together in this group. The club deserve it.

    "I really, really hope to be around next year. With a game tonight and coming up we haven't sat down and signed anything, but I really hope so and things are looking good. The club have been brilliant."

  27. 2146

    Branislav Ivanovic, speaking on ITV: "It's a great feeling. This team deserved this, because we have had a very difficult season and a lot of games. In the end, today was a very hard game and Benfica played very well. But we scored from set pieces and work very hard preparing that part of our game. We deserve that trophy."

  28. 2146

    A word for Benfica. Before last weekend, they were on for a treble. Then they lost to Porto to hand over the initiative in the domestic title race and surrendered the Europa League final today. Those are some wheels coming off in quite distressing fashion for their fans.

  29. spackman_getty
    Nigel Spackman - BBC Radio 5 live at the Amsterdam ArenA

    "A special mention for Torres. As a lone striker, he worked so hard got a wonderful goal and I was so pleased for him."

  30. 2143

    John Terry alert. The club captain is in his tracksuit, playing kit underneath and boots on. The rest of the non-playing Chelsea players, like the cup-tied Demba Ba, have kept their suits on. Terry is expected to share the cup-lifting duties with on-field skipper Frank Lampard.

  31. 2141

    The Chelsea travelling party are all on the pitch. Rafael Benitez, in what is his penultimate match as Chelsea boss, shares matey hugs with his players.

  32. 2140

    Branislav Ivanovic looks disbelieving, shaking his team-mates in delight. Benfica fans and players are sobbing in the stands and into the turf.

  33. spackman_getty
    Nigel Spackman - BBC Radio 5 live at the Amsterdam ArenA

    "There are wonderful scenes. They rode their luck and they got their rewards. It was an astounding header. The players are out on their feet but they had the heart to go on and win it.

    "The Benfica players and fans are stunned."

  34. 2138

    There was still time for Oscar Cardozo to almost get in at the death, but Gary Cahill's block ensured that the Chelsea party would not be derailed.

  35. 2137
    FULL-TIME Benfica 1-2 Chelsea
  36. 2135
    GOAL Benfica 1-2 Chelsea - Branislav Ivanovic (90+3 mins)

    An absolute brute of a header has decided this final. Branislav Ivanovic, suspended for last year's Champions League final, climbs head, shoulder and torso above everyone at the back post and sends a header looping into the corner. Chelsea delight, Benfica devastated.

  37. 2135

    Ramires wins a late corner, playing the ball off the defender's shins. One last chance for Chelsea...

  38. 2134

    Into three minutes of injury time we go.

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