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Chelsea to face Benfica in Europa League final

updated 5:41 PM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
David Luiz shows his delight at scoring a superb third in Chelsea's 3-1 second leg win over Basel in London.
David Luiz shows his delight at scoring a superb third in Chelsea's 3-1 second leg win over Basel in London.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chelsea to play Benfica in Europa League final
  • Chelsea beat Basel 3-1 to compete 5-2 aggregate win
  • Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz with second half strikes
  • Benfica see off Fenerbahce by the same margin for 3-2 aggregate victory

(CNN) -- Three goals in just 10 second half minutes sank Basel and set Chelsea on their way to the Europa League final Thursday and an Amsterdam date with Portuguese giants Benfica.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg in Switzerland, Chelsea trailed at half time of their home leg at Stamford Bridge to an injury time goal from rising young Egyptian star Mohamed Salah.

But their fears were allayed as Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz, who will be facing his old club in the final, struck to snuff out Basel's hopes.

Benfica, trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Turkey against Fenerbahce, went through 3-2 on aggregate after a hard-fought 3-1 home win.

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Nicolas Gaitan drew them level on aggregate with an exquisite ninth minute strike, but the visitors were ahead again in the 23rd minute thanks to a penalty from former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt.

But Benfica were not to be denied and an Oscar Cardozo double either side of half time sealed their passage to the final in the Dutch city on May 15.

They will stand between Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez and his only possible silverware in his troubled spell at the English Premier League giants.

Benitez has previously led Valencia to a 2004 success in the competition.

Home fans, who have not warmed to the Spaniard, were initially chanting the name of Jose Mourinho, who has hinted at a return to Chelsea, but by the finish would have been satisfied by the outcome.

Defiant Benitez

Benitez remained defiant: "I came to do a professional job with the commitment of the players. I am pleased for them and everyone here," he told ITV Sport.

"We have had a very good atmosphere, the players have always worked hard, and they have always done their job."

Chelsea's progression to the final looked to be under threat after Salah swept past Petr Cech from Valentin Stocker's fine through ball.

But Torres, who has been in excellent form in Europe's second tier club competition, changed all that as he seized on a loose ball after Yann Sommer had kept out Frank Lampard's shot.

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Three minutes later saw the second Chelsea goal as Torres had his low shot deflected into the path of Moses, who scored from close range.

Brazilian ace Luiz capped the goal scoring burst just before the hour mark with a stunning curled effort from outside the penalty area.

Fabian Frei hit the crossbar for Basel, but they were well beaten and Chelsea might have added to their tally by the finish.

It was third time lucky for Chelsea, who were beaten in the semifinals of the English FA Cup and League Cup, while Benfica will be contesting a first major European final since 1990.

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