Europa League Final Results: Chelsea Becomes First Club to Hold Simultaneous European Titles

Chelsea entered the 2012-13 season with the opportunity to win more silverware than any club in Europe. After seven failed opportunities, in the 93rd minute of their eighth and final chance for a trophy, Branislav Ivanovic’s towering header gave Chelsea the 2-1 victory over Benfica they sought. This triumph in Amsterdam comes as Chelsea prepare for the departure of beleaguered interim manager Rafa Benitez. 

Benfica were tenacious and creative throughout the match, enjoying the majority of possession and a slight advantage in shooting opportunities. Benfica looked to wilt in the closing moments, possibly as a result of a playing just four days after a devastating 2-1 stoppage time loss to Liga rival Porto. After Chelsea opened scoring thanks to Fernando Torres, Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo earned an equalizer from the penalty spot following Cesar Azpilicueta’s handball. Cardozo and Benfica will regret squandering several prime scoring opportunities, while Luisao will regret his error that allowed Torres to score the opening goal for Chelsea.

Chelsea rose to superiority as the match entered the final stages with Frank Lampard and Juan Mata leading the charge. Oft-maligned striker Fernando Torres cemented his place in Chelsea lore with another iconic goal to add to his career highlight reel. Torres and Mata now share the honor of currently holding Champions League, European Championship, Europa League, and World Cup titles. Injured Chelsea captain John Terry again appeared for the trophy ceremony in full kit following a quick wardrobe change after the final whistle. 

Chelsea now begins their annual process of bringing in a new manager, with Jose Mourinho expected to make his return to Stamford Bridge. Benitez departs with his honor and reputation intact, overcoming the hostility of Chelsea’s own fans to steer the team to success. Chelsea is full of talented players, but injuries have taken their toll on a Chelsea squad that has played more matches than any team in Europe. High value transfers are almost certain for Chelsea who has earned a reputation for exorbitant spending.

Benfica represent the opposite side of the transfer market spectrum and front office management. Renowned for their ability to scout and import elite players from South America, Benfica have been on the receiving end of some of the most expensive transfers in recent memory. Chelsea’s David Luiz and Ramires both arrived from Benfica on transfers exceeding €20 million. Jorge Jesus has been a steady influence as manager since his arrival in 2009, his status assured despite a runner up finish in the Europa League and a likely second place Primeira Liga finish.

The juxtaposition in management and front office styles created an exhilarating final that neither set of fans will soon forget. Benfica will attempt to rally for a weekend fixture against Moreirense hoping to keep the pressure on league leaders Porto. Chelsea can look forward to the future proud of their accomplishments with only a weekend fixture against Everton separating them from a victory tour of the United States. With the Europa League and all major European Leagues decided, the world’s attention turns to Wembley Stadium where Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will face off in the UEFA Champions League final. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Alexander Schaffer

Writer, footballer, blogger. Striker for Deutschtown United FC. Currently writing for Full Time Football, Policy Mic, and On Fire with Alex Schaffer, while featuring on The Grievance's Resolute Sarcasm Podcast

MORE FROM

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.