Fernando Torres has five goals in the Europa League this season. Photo: Getty Images/fifa.com
Twelve months ago Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League after overcoming Bayern Munich on penalties in the decider and they can become the first team to hold both of UEFA’s biggest club trophies at the same time if they can beat Benfica in the Europa League decider on Thursday morning (AEST).
John Terry and Eden Hazard both picked up injuries in their sides 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League on the weekend and are doubtful for the Europa League decider. Interim boss Rafael Benetiz could have Oriol Romeu and John Obi Mikel available again however, with the pair continuing to recover from respective knee and hip injuries. Frank Lampard may have earnt himself a place in the starting side having bagged both goals and become the leading scorer in Chelsea’s history at Villa Park. Demba Ba is unavailable having played for Newcastle in the competition earlier in the season, meaning Fernando Torres will continue to lead the line for the club.
Benfica lost top spot in the Portuguese Liga with their 2-1 defeat to FC Porto on the weekend but that defeat will soon be forgotten if Jorge Jesus’ men can upset the Londoners. The club has no fresh injury concerns going into the decider in Amsterdam - with Oscar Cardozo looking to add to his six goals already in the competition - but it will be interesting to see what mental scars the players have from the match against Porto. That defeat was Benfica’s first in the league and just their fourth in all competitions during the current campaign.
Chelsea comes into this fixture with four wins from its past five Europa League outings, while Benfica has lost just one of its past eleven matches in European competition. These sides locked horns in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, with the Blues winning 1-0 in Lisbon before wrapping the tie up with a 2-1 victory at home.
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