For the next ten days, Chelsea will officially be the reigning holders of both the Champions League and the Europa League trophies after a stunning 2-1 win over the impressive Benfica. Fittingly, it was one of the heroes of last year’s Champions League campaign that scored the dramatic 93rd minute winner – Branislav Ivanovic.
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Rafa Benitez did not start Frank Lampard yesterday but, once Ramires picked up an injury, the 34-year old midfielder came on to put Chelsea withing touching distance of Champions League qualification. Lampard looked like a man on a mission when he came on and a typical bursting run and pass set up Oscar for the opener after 43 minutes. Just two minutes later, Lampard was given the chance to add to his 200 goals from the penalty after Maya was fouled. Nobody expected him to miss, and he is now just one goal behind the all-time club record of Bobby Tambling.
It was an excellent finish to last night’s game when David Luiz scored with that brilliant free-kick in the dying seconds. Luiz was an absolute star all the way through the game and I was extremely impressed with his midfield strength and his through passing was excellent.
But one of the best things i liked was when he went in hard on the dirtiest Basel player, David Degen. This animal was fouling Chelsea players all over the park and the referee was letting him get away with it which only made him worse.
When he cynically took Luiz down with about 20 minutes to go (without punishment again) you could see on the Brazilians face that he had finally had enough of Degen’s antics.
The disgusting behaviour of Luis Suarez towards the Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has had the whole world up in arms, and even the British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a statement implying that he expects a heavy punishment for the Uruguayan idiot.
He said through a government spokesman: “It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider,”
“As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models.”
Petr Cech was very disappointed to concede the equalising goal to Liverpool on Sunday, especially as we were leading until the 97th minute, but he says that now the Chelsea players need to relieve the ongoing pressure ahead of every game by taking a relaxing break in between matches.
Cech said: “‘We are in a position where we are fighting for everything,”
“There’s a lot of pressure in the Europa League because we want to win it and we are in the semi-finals.
The Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez certainly had an incident packed return to Anfield yesterday, and although everyone is talking about the disgusting behaviour of Luis Suarez, Benitez is wondering why on earth the referee kept playing after the 90 minutes to give Liverpool every chance to get an equalizer.
He was obviously asked about the Suarez incident after the game, but he clearly had another bee in his bonnet. He said: “I didn’t see anything, I was concentrating on the game and talking about football — we had the game nearly won. Why six minutes extra time? We don’t know. The rules are really clear… so six minutes and 45 seconds more is very difficult to understand.
the stage is set for a nail-biting end to the season for the fans of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, and Juan Mata thinks that Chelsea should have had all three points against Liverpool after leading right up until the 97th minute of the unusually extended game.
Mata said after the match: “A point is a point but we’re disappointed, that’s the truth,”
“We had the three points until the last second; we tried until the end, we defended well in the second half but at the end we couldn’t.
Because Chelsea were playing their third big game in six days and the fact that it was a local derby against Fulham, it was expected to be a tough test for Rafa Benitez and the Blues at Craven Cottage last night. It turned out to be anything but, as we eased to a 3-0 win with John Terry marking his 21st start of the season with his first brace of goals in eight years.
With a mammoth and congested fixture list stretching out in front of them, Chelsea and Rafa Benitez will be glad of the opportunity to rest a few key players if necessary in the second leg against Rubin Kazan. Chelsea were easily the better side against Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge last night as they cruised to a 3-1 victory.
The Russians only got on the scoresheet because of a poor decision by the referee to award a penalty for a handball by John Terry. The Chelsea captain had his hands by his side and did not move towards the ball, in fact he would hardly have been able to given the speed it was struck at him. Apparently, Terry has less than a quarter of a second to react so it was a very harsh call.
Chelsea are still on course for a Europa League and FA cup double, after an absolutely outstanding piece of magic from Demba Ba produced the only goal of the game against Manchester United. The Blues will now fave Manchester City on Sunday April 14th at Wembley for a place in the final.