Of the thirty-two teams that made it into the knock-out stages of this season’s UEFA Europa League, four teams, having managed to eliminate all their opponents up to this point, were now one step closer to the Amsterdam Final. Representing England, Turkey, Portugal and Switzerland were Chelsea FC, Fenerbahce SK, SL Benfica, and FC Basel respectively.
These were the four teams remaining, but only two of these teams would make it to the Amsterdam Final. Which teams those would be would depend on how things would go in the semi-finals, which ended up being, as promised, very, very entertaining.
Basel 1893 vs. Chelsea
Basel had managed to eliminate Tottenham Hotspur, Zenit St. Petersburg, and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on their way to the semi-finals. Chelsea had, all the same, managed to eliminate Sparta Prague, Steaua Bucharest, and Rubin Kazan, in that order. Chelsea were, going into this game, the favorites to win, but Basel had proven they could handle English opposition quite well after their triumph over Tottenham Hotspur just two weeks before. The stage was all set for an exciting match!
The first half started well for the visitors, who managed to control the game for the first quarter of an hour. Having earned 2 corners in the period of 4 minutes, Chelsea were causing trouble for Basel. Frank Lampard took both corners, and the second one was accurate enough to provide Victor Moses a chance to give Chelsea their first goal. Victor Moses made no mistake and headed this one into the net. The visitors tried to get one back 10 minutes later when Fabian Schar almost scored, but Petr Cech was there to save the day for his side. Chelsea, seeing as their opponents had started to focus on playing a more attacking game, looked to catch them on the counter, but there were to be no more goals for either side for the remainder of the first half.
The second half started almost excellently for the hosts, who would have leveled things had it not been for the woodwork. Valentin Stocker had managed to defeat Cech and David Luiz, but just fell unlucky. The woodwork at St. Jakob-Park stopped celebrations yet again just 6 minutes later on the other end when Fernando Torres almost made it 2-0. A very frustrating sight for the away fans!
After a few good chances on both sides, the match looked set to end, but an 87th minutes Basel penalty showed it wasn’t quite over yet. Chelsea gave away yet another penalty – their 4th in the 7 Europa League games they had played up to that point – which Fabian Schar took excellently.
And the game wasn’t over yet! With just 2 minutes of normal time left, plus 4 minutes of stoppage-time added on, Chelsea managed to leave Switzerland with an advantage. Ramires was fouled in what turned out to be the perfect position for a David Luiz free-kick into the last minute. The 26-year-old Brazilian made sure to hit the target with this one, redeeming all his teammates, especially one Cesar Azpilicueta who could have ended up holding himself responsible for Basel’s equalizer. The sun seemed to have been shining on Chelsea as they left St. Jakob-Park with smiles on their faces despite having been beaten to the ball for most of the night.
- Chelsea had 2 more attempts (14) over Basel (12)
- Chelsea were 57.14% on target and enjoying only 44% possession, while Basel enjoyed the remaining 56% possession and were 41.66% on target
- Chelsea were awarded 16 free-kicks on the night, while Basel got 9
- 21 fouls were committed during the match between the two teams: Basel committed 61.94% of those fouls (13 fouls), while Chelsea committed the remaining 38.06% (8 fouls)
- Both sides received 8 corners each
- Yann Sommer made 5 saves compared to Petr Cech’s 3
- Both sides hit the woodwork once
- 5 substitutions were made during this match, 2 by Chelsea and 3 by Basel; all substitutions made during this game were for midfield players
- A total of 6 yellow cards (3-a-side) was awarded between the two teams by referee Pavel Kralovec
- No players were sent off during this match
Murat Yakin and Rafael Benitez lined up the following squads:
Basel Starting XI
Sommer, Ho, Degen, Dragovic, Schar, Stocker, Frei, Salah, Die, Streller (c), Elneny
Subs: Vailati, Sauro, Steinhofer, Cabral, Zoua, Degen, and Diaz
Chelsea Starting XI
Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry (c), Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Hazard, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Cahill, Bertrand, Mikel, Benayoun, Mata, and Oscar
Final Score: Basel 1893 1-2 Chelsea
Moses 12′, David Luiz 90+4′ | Schar 87′ (pen)
Goals and Assists
- Victor Moses’ goal was a header scored in the 12th minute, assisted by a Frank Lampard corner from the right; this goal was Victor’s third in the tournament
- Fabian Schar’s goal was a penalty scored in the 87th minute resulting from a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta on Valentin Stocker inside the area; this goal was Fabian’s fourth in the tournament
- David Luiz’s goal was a direct free-kick from which he scored in the 4th minute of stoppage-time at the end of the second half – the free-kick was awarded by Pavel Kralovec for a foul by Valentin Stocker on Ramires; this goal was David Luiz’s first in the tournament
Written by Ange Marline