Benfica vs. Fenerbahce, 2013 Europa League: Final score 3-1, Cardozo brace sends Benfica to the final

Jamie McDonald

Benfica advanced to the Europa League final, overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg thanks to a brace from Óscar Cardozo.

Benfica overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and Dirk Kuyt penalty to defeat Fenerbahce 3-1 on the day and 3-2 on aggregate. Benica's Óscar Cardozo had a big day scoring twice, including the tie winner in the 67th minute.

The victory sends Benfica to the Europa League final where they'll meet Chelsea on May 15th at the Amsterdam Arena.

Benfica were a team on a mission from the opening whistle pinning Fenerbahce back into their own end and pouring on a ton of pressure. The goal really did feel inevitable and it arrived in the 9th minute thanks to a great run and cross by Lima and an even better finish by Nicolás Gaitán.

Lima's well timed run on the right wing allowed him to break free into open space on the edge of the Fenerbahce area and send a low cross into the box that was flicked on smoothly by Gaitán. The Argentine directed the ball past Volkan Demirel and in off the far post to pull Benfica ahead 1-0 and even on aggregate.

Out of nowhere Fenerbahce found themselves with a penalty and an opportunity to grab an away goal in the 22nd minute. A long throw in was headed down on the edge of the Benfica area by Caner Erkin who was tightly covered by Ezequiel Garay. As the ball came down it rolled over Garay's shoulder and the defender swept the ball forward with his harm. The match referee took his time before pointing to the spot and awarding the penalty to Fener. Dirk Kuyt stepped up and buried the attempt sending the ball left as Artur dove right, moving Fenerbahce even at 1-1 on the day but back in front on aggregate.

Fener woke up after the penalty but Benfica's relentless pressure didn't stop and in the 35th minute they struck again.

A quick free kick taken by Enzo Pérez from deep in the midfield caught Fener completely off guard allowing Óscar Cardozo to pickup the ball in space at the top of the area. The big striker took two quick touches as he moved left before sending a low shot against his body that rolled underneath a diving slide from a defender and into the net to make it 2-1 for Benfica.

Scary moment for everyone in the 57th minute after Gaitán went up in the air to make a play on the ball and kicked Gokhan Gonul right in the face. Gonul dropped and laid motionless on the pitch as players from both teams waved for medical personnel. Gonul was strapped to a stretcher and carted straight off the pitch and the match continued as Bekir Irtegun took his place.

Ten minutes later the continued pressure from Benfica -- which had continued basically form the second half kickoff -- pad off again as Cardozo netted his second goal of the match and put Benfica ahead 3-1 (3-2). Luisão was able to chip the ball forward to Cardozo after a long throw from the left side touchline. Cardozo wasted no time taking one touch and blasting his shot past Volkan.

That would be enough for the home side as they held off Fenerbahce over the final minutes to secure the result.

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