NUMBER 4 – CHELSEA VS BENFICA – EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL 2013
Out of the Champions League, but still hopeful for the season, Chelsea pushed through to reach the Europa League final, and faced a difficult clash with Portuguese giants Benfica. With Rafa Benitez taking charge, despite many fans being against the appointment of the former Liverpool boss, even going as far to bring signs in protest of the appointment to games at Stamford Bridge, the Blues aimed to become the first team in history to have both the Champions League and the Europa League in their possession at the same time, as the new European Champions had not been crowned at that point. Against the run of play, Fernando Torres put Chelsea ahead on the hour mark, but in typical Chelsea fashion, they took their fans on yet another roller coaster of a ride when Oscar Cardozo converted a penalty to draw Benfica level. Petr Cech pulled off a world class save to deny Cardozo from grabbing a second, before Chelsea’s Frank Lampard hit the woodwork with a terrific effort, as he did in the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United in Moscow – not a good omen. However, Branislav Ivanovic rose to meet a Juan Mata corner deep in stoppage time, to clinch the win for Chelsea. Another historic win, another trophy for the cabinet, and despite the controversy surrounding the appointment of Rafa Benitez, Chelsea had something to show for it.