A year after Champions League glory, Chelsea wins Europa League
AMSTERDAM - Reuters
Chelsea's players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Europa League final football match between Benfica and Chelsea on May 15. AFP photoA stoppage-time header from Branislav Ivanovic helped Chelsea become the first English club to win all three of UEFA's major trophies as they beat Benfica 2-1 in the Europa League final on May 15.
The Serbian defender sent the London club's fans wild with delight when he climbed high at the far post to meet a Juan Mata corner and place a header back across helpless goalkeeper Artur into the net.
Fernando Torres had put Chelsea in front with a breathtaking solo goal in the 59th minute before Oscar Cardozo equalised with a penalty nine minutes later.
Victory meant Chelsea emulated Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich and Juventus in becoming the only clubs to win the European Cup, Europa League and the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup.
Benfica, smarting from Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Porto in their domestic title showdown, started the game the brighter of the two teams and Paraguayan sharpshooter Cardozo headed over from close range in the second minute.
Chelsea gradually began to string some passes together and Torres put them in front with a goal reminiscent of his wonder strike in last season's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
A flick in the centre circle from Mata sent the Spaniard streaking clear and he calmly rounded Artur before slotting the ball into an empty net from a tight angle.
Torres marked his goal by dropping to his knees and celebrating in Usain Bolt fashion by pointing his right arm skywards.
Cardozo levelled for Benfica, driving the ball straight down the middle of the goal from the penalty spot after Cesar Azpilicueta handled in the area.
Both teams drove forward in search of the winner and Ivanovic's goal made sure interim manager Rafa Benitez picked up his first trophy as Chelsea boss