Benfica vs. Chelsea, 2013 Europa League Final: Final score 1-2, Branislav Ivanovic wins it for the Blues in stoppage time

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Branislav Ivanovic's looping header late in stoppage time won the 2013 Europa League for Chelsea.

Chelsea weren't the better side on the night but they took advantage of their chances when it mattered and won the Europa League thanks to a stoppage time goal from Branislav Ivanovic. Fernando Torres had put Chelsea ahead early in the second half, but Óscar Cardozo tied things up later on a penalty.

More from our team blogs: Chelsea blog We Ain't Got No History

Chelsea joins Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus as the only teams to have won a European Cup/Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

The opening 45 minutes at the Amsterdam Arena were a fine example of why major European finals probably shouldn't be held in Amsterdam. Why? Either both teams were not really into the game or they'd all stayed up way too late the night before partaking in the extravagant night life available in city.

Benfica were certainly the better side in the first half looking rather dangerous on several occasions but ultimately being undone by their own propensity to try and get way to fancy with their passing or thanks to slipping on the grass. That happened a lot by the way with several players losing their footing throughout the half.

Óscar Cardozo sent a close range header wide in the opening minutes, Benfica had two attempts blocked in the area by defenders in the 11th minute. Nicolas Gaitán skied a great chance in the 12th minute and three minutes later Rodrigo slipped twice trying to get off a short range shot. Chances wasted early and often.

Chelsea didn't even generate a shot on goal until the 27th minute when Oscar sent a ball directly into the waiting arms of Artur from around 20-yards out.

Frank Lampard created the best chance for either side in the 38th minute after cutting back inside and launching a rising shot that nearly got past Artur who was moving in the wrong direction after biting on Lampard's initial move. The Benfica keeper stuck out his trailing arm and made a desperation save to prevent the goal.Benfica looked to have taken the lead in the 51st minute when Cardozo got on the end of a cross in from Gaitan and headed the ball past Cech. The linesman's flag was up though, denying Benfica the goal though replays showed it was very close and the striker appeared to be onside.

As Benfica continued to waste chances, Chelsea looked stronger and broke though with the opening goal in the 60th minute after Benfica fell asleep after a chance of their own. Petr Cech's long throw up the middle was flicked on by Juan Mata to Fernando Torres who ran behind the Benfica defense, got Artur to go to ground and dribbled around the keeper and finding the back of the net. In true Torres fashion, his touch after beating Artur nearly allowed a Benfica defender to block his shot.

Benfica got back into the match in the 67th minute when the freshly introduced Lima earned his side a PK after his header just inside the Chelsea area hit off César Azpilicueta's arm. Cardozo took the penalty -- creeping forward slowly towards the ball and nearly causing a Chelsea player or two to infringe on the are -- and blasted a shot past Cech to even things up at 1-1.

Cardozo nearly won it for Benfica in the 82nd minute when his drive from 20-yards out forced Cech to make an excellent save, as he tipped the ball over the bar for a corner. Frank Lampard had his chance in the 88th minute, sending a shot past Artur that hammered off the bar.

The hero though ended up being Branislav Ivanovic who beat Artur into the top right corner with a looping header off Mata's corner late in stoppage time. Benfica's keeper chose to leave both post unguarded and paid the price when the Chelsea defender got way up in the air at the far post and sent the ball back across the goal much to the horror of the Benfica players as they watched their chance at victory disappear.

Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter | Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

City right to sack Mancini

Where does Wayne Rooney end up?

The theoretical managerial carousel

Transfer rumours from SB Nation and our team blogs

Full coverage of the NWSL

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.