Where do I begin ? Another European night at Stamford Bridge filled with drama. Chelsea hosted Frankfurt in the second leg of the Europa League semi finals. Maurizio Sarri went with the perfect lineup and in the first half Chelsea controlled the game. Ruben Loftus-Cheek gave Chelsea the lead in the 28th minute with a brilliant finish from inside the box. Credit has to be given to Eden Hazard, as he picked out Loftus-Cheek and provided him with another assist. Chelsea went into HT with the their heads held up high.
Then in the second half we saw the same old Chelsea. 5 minutes into the second half and Jovic scored yet again to bring Frankfurt back into the game. David Luiz seemed to lose concentration and Jovic was through on goal. And as we know how good Jovic is he finished that chance beautifully. The game was back on. 2-2 on aggregate and it seemed like Frankfurt were going to come out winners. They were all over Chelsea in the second half. Andreas Christensen came off with an injury, and Zappacosta replaced him in the 74th minute with Azpilicueta playing as a CB for the remainder of the game. Chelsea had a couple of Chances in the second half but they failed to capitalise. The final whistle blew and the game went to extra time.
Extra time began and Jovic almost gave Frankfurt the lead as the ball deflected behind for a corner. In the 96th minute Higuain came on for Giroud, who had a very poor game. Frankfurt almost took the lead through Haller but David Luiz made up for his mistake in the second half and heroically cleared the ball off the line. In the dying minutes of the first half of extra time Frankfurt almost scored from a corner but this time Zappacosta was there to clear the ball off the line. It is fair to say Chelsea were very lucky to be in this game by the end of the first half of extra time. Azpilicuetta scored from a corner but the goal was rightfully disallowed as he fouled Trapp. The final whistle blew and penalties were the only way to separate these two sides.
Frankfurt started the penalty shootout with Haller and he did not fail to disappoint as he scored it to make it 1-0. Barkley stepped up and scored a fine penalty to make it 1-1. Jovic made it 2-1 and Kepa almost got his hand to it. Azpilicueta stepped up and Trapp denied him. De Guzman made it 3-1 and it seemed like Chelsea would not be going to Baku. Jorginho kept his cool and scored to make it 3-2. There was still some hope left for Chelsea. Kepa stood his ground and saved the penalty as the ball was put down the middle. David Luiz made it 3-3 and Chelsea we’re back in it. Paciencia was brought on for the penalty shoot out but Kepa made an outstanding save and it was advantage Chelsea. The man himself Eden Hazard was the final penalty taker and he scored to send Chelsea to final of the Europa League. Chelsea are going to Baku and will face Arsenal in the final on the 29th of May. An all English final.
- This is the first time that all four places in the Champions League/European Cup and Europa League/UEFA Cup finals will be filled by one country.
- Chelsea have won each of their last four penalty shootouts at Stamford Bridge, with this their first in European competition at home.
- Chelsea have reached their first major European final since the 2013 Europa League, when they beat Benfica 2-1 under manager Rafael Benitez
- Chelsea have never lost a home game against German opponents in all competitions (W7 D3).
He starts by saying we needed to score another goal in the first half to kill the tie, and then we struggled to stay compact giving a chance to a dangerous team to come back Sarri says superstitions meant he didn’t join the team huddle on the pitch before extra-time and then penalties. He says he told his assistants what to say to the players. Sarri laughs when he says he didn’t watch the last two penalties because he didn’t want to suffer! He finishes by saying our group deserves to win a trophy this season having recovered from difficulties three months ago.Maurizio Sarri’s post match thoughts
What’s next for Chelsea ?
Well, Chelsea are going to Baku to play in another European final. They will face Arsenal, a really exciting final as it will be a London derby. Chelsea were quite fortunate today and Kepa can hold his head held up high, by making two terrific saves in the shootout. Chelsea will play Leicester away from home in the final league game of the season. A win would ensure Chelsea finish the league in 3rd position. It’s still all to play for and Chelsea should give it their all in order to finish 3rd.
UP THE CHELS!