Basel - David Luiz scored with the very last kick of the game to earn Chelsea
a dramatic 2-1 win at FC Basel in the first leg of their Europa League
semi-final on Thursday.
Basel, who were appearing in their first
European semi-final, looked set to earn a draw after a contentious
87th-minute penalty from Fabian Schar cancelled out Victor Moses's early
However, deep into injury time, Luiz drove a 25-yard
free-kick beneath the Basel wall and into the bottom-right corner to put
Rafael Benitez's side in control ahead of next week's return leg at
In the end, the only sour note for the visitors
was a yellow card for Ashley Cole that rules him out of the second leg,
although Basel will also be without centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic for
the same reason.
Chelsea had welcomed Cole back after a three-week
absence due to a hamstring injury, but their wariness was demonstrated
by interim coach Benitez's decision to deploy centre-back Luiz in a
midfield holding role.
Basel eliminated Tottenham Hotspur on
penalties in the quarter-finals, having knocked Manchester United out of
last season's Champions League, and they served early notice of their
threat when Mohammed Elneny curled a cross onto the roof of the Chelsea
It was Chelsea, however, who took the lead in the 12th minute, to the disappointment of watching Basel native Roger Federer.
Lampard drew a smart save from Yann Sommer with a near-post volley and
from the resulting corner, the England midfielder's cross struck Moses
and ricocheted into the roof of the net.
Basel responded immediately, briefly forcing the visitors onto the back foot.
goalkeeper Petr Cech tipped a stinging Schar free-kick over the bar,
while Valentin Stocker hit the outside of the post with a drilled cross
from the right.
The away side finished the half strongly, though,
with Sommer producing a sharp reflex save to repel Ramires's half-volley
from close range.
Eden Hazard might have doubled Chelsea's lead
shortly before half-time, but a last-ditch challenge from Park Joo-Ho
put him off just as he was about to take aim at the exposed Sommer.
the opening exchanges of the second period, both sides hit the woodwork
with chances that would have greatly altered the face of the game.
Stocker rolled a low shot against the base of Cech's right-hand post,
before Fernando Torres saw a left-foot snap-shot crash back off an
upright after a bold run down the Chelsea left from Hazard.
coach Murat Yakin introduced Marcelo Diaz and Jacques Zoua from the
bench, and the hosts saw Fabian Frei and then Zoua shoot narrowly wide
from just outside the box.
Cech saved at the feet of Salah, but
after several nervous moments in the Chelsea area, the hosts' pressure
told when Czech referee Pavel Kralovec penalised Cesar Azpilicueta for
making contact with Stocker from behind. It appeared a harsh decision from Kralovec though.
Schar duly drilled his
spot-kick down the middle, before Sommer produced a stunning point-blank
save to deny John Terry, only for Luiz to strike in the fourth minute
of added time to end Basel's unbeaten home record in this season's
competition.Europa League semi-final first leg results on Thursday:
FC Basel (SUI) 1 (Schar 87-pen) Chelsea (ENG) 2 (Moses 12, Luiz 90)
Fenerbahce (TUR) 1 (Korkmaz 72) Benfica (POR) 0