David Luiz’s last minute free-kick earned a narrow victory over the Swiss side and important away goals for the Blues to take back to Stamford Bridge, but the match was not without controversy.
I can’t help but feel as though penalties against us are obligatory in this competition especially considering how daft the decision was and yet another example of the sixth officials being completely useless. Despite being the favourite for the ball and ahead of Valentin Stocker the Czech referee awarded Basel a penalty after both player failed to make contact with the ball or each other, bizarrely, and the spot kick was scored by Fabian Shar in the 87th minute.
The goal cancelled out Victor Moses opener in the 12th minute of the first half when Frank Lampard’s corner caused trouble for the Basel defence but I don’t know how much the Nigerian international intended it as the ball hit off him via a Branislav Ivanovic deflection.
Just before Basel’s equaliser Fernando Torres hit the inside of the post following a fantastic show of pace and balance from Eden Hazard who picked out the Spaniard, who was unlucky not to score. There were also several ‘how did that not go in?’ moments in the final minutes for Chelsea as both Oscar and John Terry failed to convert their chances, but Luiz made sure in the end and Rafa Benitez felt that the injustice of Basel’s penalty inspired Chelsea to win. It was a poetic justice in a way as although Basel’s penalty should never have been awarded, the Brazilian was arguably lucky to be on the pitch after a horror challenge on Philipp Degen.
During the match Ashley Cole was booked for taking too long at a throw-in (he usually does take forever) and will miss the next match, although I am guessing he won’t be too disappointed as we really ought to make the final and missing out the home leg makes it impossible for him to sit out the final with a suspension.
Chelsea were worthy of the win and although Basel had a lot of the ball at times and play a lovely passing game, they don’t look as though they have enough to hurt the Blues and their frustration was apparent as they resorted to persistent fouling which cost them in the end.