Chelsea faced Benfica in the Europa League final last night and emerged victorious from a tumultuous fixture in which they spent large portions of the game under the cosh.
Benfica started the game extremely well; controlling possession with some sharp slick movement and leaving Chelsea chasing shadows and thanking their lucky stars they went into the half at 0-0.
After Fernando Torres gave Chelsea the lead after a revitalised second-half performance Oscar Cardozo then grabbed a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot after Cesar Azpilicueta handled.
Once the scores were level the game really opened up with both teams going all out for victory during regular time; with each team seemingly taking it in turns to go on the attack and test the opponents resolve.
At times it even resembled a tennis match with the constant search for a winner and in the end it was Branislav Ivanovic who delivered a crushing end to the long rally. His lob deceiving the Benfica goalkeeper and with no defence on the back-post that was it; game, set and championship Chelsea in the most cruel of tie-breaks.
You are probably wondering why on earth I am being so stubborn in regards to my tennis analogies; well because the World’s Number One Tennis player was clearly watching proceedings.
The current best in the men’s game took some time out from preparing to play Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Rome masters today to take in the final and was clearly happy to see a Serbian countryman grab the telling goal:
But he was also sure to show his patriotic applause for fellow Serb and former Chelsea reserve team player Nemanja Matic:
And congratulation to one of my favourite teams Benfica for reaching the finals! Nemanja Matic-Serbiiiiia !— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 15, 2013
We wonder if either will return the favour during Roland Garros this month.
image: © madprime