CHELSEA advanced to a European final for the second successive season with a comprehensive Europa League semi-final second leg defeat of Basle at Stamford Bridge.
Scorers: Chelsea: Torres 50, Moses 52, Luiz 59; Basle: Salah 45
Chelsea won 5-2 on aggregate
Referee: Jonas Eriksson
Last season’s Champions League winners fell behind to Mohamed Salah’s fine 45th-minute goal for the Swiss champions, but Fernando Torres and Victor Moses maintained their impressive individual records in the competition by scoring within three second-half minutes.
David Luiz’s stunning curled goal ended the tie as a contest and ensured Chelsea’s passage to the 15 May final in Amsterdam against his former club Benfica – but there was no record-equalling goal for Frank Lampard on a memorable night in west London.
Chelsea are now well-placed to secure both their targets in the final weeks of Rafael Benitez’s reign, with the Europa League their eighth and final chance of silverware at the end of another turbulent season.
The Blues will hope to secure their return to the Champions League before the final and next face crucial Barclays Premier League fixtures with Manchester United and Tottenham.
The build-up was dominated by one man who had no impact on the tie: Jose Mourinho.The Real Madrid boss’ desire to be loved has heightened speculation of a return to Stamford Bridge, where he spent three successful seasons, and his name was sung throughout.
As the first chants for Mourinho began, Lampard hit the post after being played through by Torres and Moses fluffed a follow-up. Yann Sommer denied Torres with a smart save and then made a straightforward one from Eden Hazard.
At the other end Marco Streller came close with a stunning left-footed volley before Valentin Stocker shot tamely at Petr Cech.
Basle more than matched their hosts, with Cech spreading himself to save from Salah and Chelsea survived handball appeals when Stocker’s shot was blocked by Ryan Bertrand in the aftermath. In first-half stoppage time, Basle levelled the tie. Stocker threaded a pass between Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic and Salah struck a curling effort into the net.
Chelsea’s response after the interval was swift and began with a surge forward from Hazard, who flicked the ball back for Lampard.
The midfielder’s left-footed shot was parried by Sommer, but Torres was the first to react and slid in to score.
Three minutes later, Chelsea had a second goal when Moses cut in from the left and combined with Torres. The Spaniard’s shot broke off a Basle defender to Moses, whose initial effort was blocked by Gaston Sauro before he fired in the ricochet.
It was not long before Chelsea’s third. Lampard teed-up Luiz, 25 yards out, and the Brazilian’s left-footed shot arced spectacularly into the top corner.
A Sauro shot from 25 yards deflected off Ivanovic and off the post as Basle continued to press, but Basle’s Marcelo Diaz was denied by Cech before the Stamford Bridge celebrations could begin.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Lampard, Luiz (Ake 81), Ramires (Oscar 66), Hazard (Mata 75), Moses, Torres. Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Benayoun.
FC Basle: Sommer, Steinhofer, Schar, Sauro, Voser, El-Nenny, Frei (Diaz 75),Die,Salah,Streller (Zoua 62), Stocker (David Degen 62). Subs Not Used: Vailati, Park, Ajeti, Cabral.