In the end, from the final kick of the night, Chelsea got what they deserved – a late win.
On a night when the Blues rediscovered some of their old qualities – desire and determination – it still needed a little bit of fortune as Luiz narrowed through a gap that should not have been there.
Last season’s Champions League winners went in front from a corner kick when Branislav Ivanovic won a header which went in off Victor Moses. Fabian Schaer forced Petr Cech to tip his deflected free-kick over the bar, but it was a rare threat from the home side.
The visitors should have scored again before half-time with Fernando Torres striking the cross-bar. Ramires was played in by Frank Lampard and made keeper Yann Sommer save by diving low to his right. The next best chances fell to Belgian winger Eden Hazard, who missed twice in the 44th with clear shooting chances in the Basel penalty area. With those failed attempts at putting a strangle hold on the game, Chelsea endured a wave of pressure from the home side in the second-half.before
After finally putting themselves on the score board, the home fans busted into celebrations. However their joy was to be silenced a mere four minutes later. Luiz carefully placed his low free kick instead of firing with his trademark power, and eluded Sommer’s late dive.
The second leg continues next week; as the winner of that match will go on to face the winner of Fenerbahce and Benfica. The Europa League final will be played in Amsterdam on May 15th, with Chelsea just 90 minutes away from punching their ticket into the finals.
In the meantime, the Blues have an important game this weekend in the Premier League, as we near the end of the season and the battle for a top-four finish continues.
For match highlights click the link below