Wed 15 May 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 53,000)
It's our 16th and final European game of the season, with silverware at stake. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton have all the final facts and figures…
Chelsea have the chance to join a genuinely elite group of clubs this evening but may have to show all the hunger and determination of last season's Champions League triumph to achieve it.
Here's hoping it is fourth time lucky for silverware this season after defeat in the Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Victory would put the Stamford Bridge club on the same pedestal as Bayern Munich, Juventus and Ajax, whose stadium hosts tonight's showpiece. The Pensioners would stand alongside those greats as the fourth club to win all three of UEFA's major trophies. If the UEFA Super Cup is added, the current coterie is reduced to just Juve and Ajax.
The Londoners could also become the first team to win the two main UEFA trophies in reverse order - José Mourinho's Porto were the last team to win them in successive seasons (UEFA Cup in 2002/03 and UEFA Champions League in 2003/04).
The 65cm high, Italian-designed trophy, a handle-less silver cup with a yellow marble plinth, is the old UEFA Cup, first lifted in 1972.
This is Chelsea's 11th final in the 10 years of the Roman Abramovich era - the 12th if you include this season's Super Cup - and our fifth European final overall. It is Benfica's ninth European final but their first in 23 years; they were defeated in their last six.
After a magnificent start to the new year the Eagles have hit a rocky patch, registering just three wins in their last eight matches in all competitions. They have won once in four away trips (courtesy of a penalty and a Marítimo player's own goal) and have not won on the road in their last two Europa League matches, at Newcastle (1-1) and Fenerbahçe (0-1).
However, Chelsea's away victory at Basel in the semi-final was the team's first since Prague in February.
Never the less Benfica's untimely dip was emphasised on Saturday night at the home of title rivals Porto. In a dramatic conclusion to the title showdown at the Dragao, Kelvin struck a winner for Vitor Pereira's side in the 93rd minute.
This was a big psychological blow. Eagles coach Jorge Jesus (pictured above) sank to his knees on the turf not just because Porto now lead the SuperLiga by one point before the final match this weekend, but because it foretold his side's first league defeat of the season.
Last season's runners-up are desperate to win back the title they last claimed in 2009/10 but also contest the Portuguese Cup final against Vitória Guimarães in 10 days' time.
In contrast Chelsea have hit the best form for some time and the win at Aston Villa - only the third there in 15 visits - virtually guaranteed a Champions League finish, clearing the decks for tonight's final.
The main headlines were written by Frank Lampard securing his place in Chelsea history as all-time record goalscorer, reaching 203. It is a remarkable achievement for any player, let alone a midfielder, and so many of them have been crucial ones. Frank has now struck 14 against Aston Villa - more than any opponent. Very many congratulations again to him.
(On the goals theme, our winner at Old Trafford was officially attributed to Juan Mata on Monday by a Premier League committee.)
The win in the Midlands did come at the cost of two casualties, though. John Terry and Eden Hazard both had to be helped off the field of play and Hazard won't face Benfica. The captain is to have a late fitness test. At least no one is suspended this time for the Blues. Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles missed out on last season's showpiece.
The Portuguese have already seen off English opposition in this competition, beating Demba Ba's old club Newcastle United 3-1 at home, thanks to goals from Rodrigo, Lima and Cardozo. They drew the second leg 1-1 at St James' Park through a stoppage-time strike by Eduardo Sálvio.
Our opponents in the semi-finals, Basel, had previously knocked Tottenham out of the competition after a penalty shootout.
If involved, Nathan Ake could become the youngest Europa League champion to date, and Frank Lampard the oldest.
The Portuguese were drawn as the nominal home side for tonight's match, but of course there is no colour clash with the Encarnardos' (Reds') kit. Both finalists joined the Europa League having come third in their Champions League groups. Benfica finished behind Barcelona and Celtic.
The Amsterdam ArenA has staged one previous UEFA final in 1998 in the Champions League between Real Madrid and Juventus. It was also used for Euro 2000. The capacity for UEFA matches is 51,800.
If the scorers are level after 90 minutes extra-time will be played and, if necessary, penalties.
Chelsea have won three of our last five penalty shoot-outs, the last being at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Benfica have featured in just two penalty shoot-outs in Europe, winning their most recent against PAOK Salonika in the 1999/00 UEFA Cup second round, and losing the other in the 1988 European Cup final against PSV Eindhoven.
Europa League top scorers
Libor Kozák (Lazio) 8
Edinson Cavani (Napoli) 7
Oscar Cardozo (Benfica) 6
Rodrigo Palacio (Internazionale) 6
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 5
Raul Bobadilla (Young Boys Bern) 5
José Rondón (Rubin Kazan) 5
Victor Moses (Chelsea) 4
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
How might Chelsea's last tilt at a trophy this season be a successful one? We have the crucial insights.
Some observers rate this Benfica side more highly than the team we beat home and away in last season's Champions League. Once again David Luiz, Ramires and Nemanja Matic are playing against their previous clubs.
Former Blue Matic has become the crucial cog in the Benfica machine, rated among the best midfielders in Portugal. He is the deeper-lying of the Eagles' middle three, and his main task will be to close down his former club's attacking midfielders, especially king of the assist and near namesake Juan Mata.
The Serb can deliver incisive passes himself from deep. Chelsea will ensure that he is closed down quickly and his avenues closed.
Enzo Perez is generally given more licence to roam but still presses hard, just higher up the field; Carlos Martins is a grittier alternative. Attacking midfielder Nico Gaitan, who departed the field at Porto injured, can be the Portuguese side's main advanced playmaker.
Wingers Eduardo Salvio and Lima are also in fine form. Jorge Jesus likes his team to play the ball from the back, with heavy reliance on the flankers to take the game to opponents, allowing others to join the attack. Once in the final third their swift and well-rehearsed interplay regularly produces chances.
Again, hard-working sides can close those wide channels, after which Benfica sometimes resort to longer balls forward that bypass the middle.
One target is regular centre forward Oscar Cardozo, who can be an enigmatic presence, capable of brilliance or anonymity in the manner of Dimitar Berbatov.
Elusive fellow forward Pablo Aimar (pictured below) is still a fans' favourite but he may live to regret his suggestion in an interview that this is the 'weakest Chelsea team there has been' in the 10 years since Roman Abramovich arrived.
Cardozo and Lima are especially dangerous in the box and standing off attackers has proved a costly habit for Chelsea recently. Cardozo has notched 32 goals in UEFA competitions and is clever with his aerial distribution, often looking to Aimar.
One offensive weapon the Portuguese will be without is the long-throw of Maxi Pereira, who is suspended.
Although they have conceded fewer goals in the Europa League than the Londoners, Benfica do have weaknesses at the back, even with Pereira, especially wide.
Their lack of pace can be exposed. The Eagles have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five Europa League matches (however with Rafael Benitez's side it is more: seven).
Luisao is the key organiser and leader in the heart of their defence but is not fast nor especially strong.
He could be troubled by the kind of delivery of which Juan Mata and Oscar in particular are capable. Equally, Chelsea's top scorer in this tournament Fernando Torres - our only available striker as Demba Ba is ineligible - may not be Luisao's physical master but his hassling and ingenuity may well prove fruitful.
The loss of Eden Hazard to injury is a blow but his possible replacement Victor Moses has delivered brilliantly in this competition, scoring in his last four successive matches. Similarly Oscar's last few weeks have been the most prolific of his first season with the Pensioners. The Brazilian was rested at Villa Park.
The Portuguese will also be concerned by the prowling threat of Frank Lampard, so often a history-maker for the Blues. The club's new record goalscorer, who skippered his side to European glory this time last year, brings with him unique experience and mental strength.
For the Blues to prevail will take a performance of high intensity, focus and pace, which Benfica are well capable of producing themselves. Chelsea must banish the recent inefficiency in front of goal as, like so many finals, this may be a game decided by one momentary lapse or spark of inspiration.
Let us hope, in the birthplace of a famous lager, this match refreshes the Chelsea parts other finals this season couldn't reach.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Benfica's only previous competitive meeting was in last season's Champions League. A makeshift Blues side - Paulo Ferreira starting, Didier Drogba an unused sub, for example - edged to victory over the side that had qualified at Manchester United's expense in the group stage.
David Luiz cleared Óscar Cardozo's shot off the line, Juan Mata hit a post, and Cardozo and Salomon Kalou both squandered decent chances. The only goal came after a fine surge into the box by Fernando Torres, who laid across for Kalou to complete from close in.
The hosts started the second leg at Stamford Bridge in fine fashion, Frank Lampard (sub in the first game) converting a penalty midway through the first half. Defender Maxi Pereira was dismissed for a second bookable offence just before half-time but it was the Pensioners who lost their way on the resumption.
Benfica took advantage of Chelsea's lack of adventure to dominate possession and nerves jangled when Javi Garcia equalised to produce an aggregate 2-1. Still the Portuguese held the initiative, until a breakaway goal bang on 90 minutes allowed Raul Meireles, a former Porto man, to celebrate lavishly in front of the visiting fans.
The two teams also met at Stamford Bridge in the International Charity Cup on 7 October 1964, which raised money for the British Organisation for Rehabilitation through Training and the Jewish National Fund. A crowd of 23,369 saw a Benfica side including Eusébio win 4-2.
Barry Bridges scored a brace for the Blues. Our team was: Peter Bonetti; Ken Shellito, Eddie McCreadie, John Hollins, Marvin Hinton (John Mortimore), Ron Harris, Bert Murray, Bobby Tambling (George Graham), Barry Bridges, Terry Venables (c), Peter Houseman (Bobby Tambling).
The star-studded Benfica XI was: Costa Pereira, Cavém, Germano, Machado, Jacinto, Neto, Coluna, Augusto, Eusebio, Torres, Simões.
Chelsea contested the same trophy two years later at the Bridge against Real Madrid and won 2-0. We apparently remain the cup holders.
When quizzed about the matches Ron Harris, then a young defender, recalled veteran Ferenc Puskas's unimpressive cameo for Real - he was 40 and a 'portly gentleman' - not the precise words Ron used (!) - and how it contrasted with the skill and power of Benfica's Eusebio.
John Mortimore made 279 appearances for Chelsea between 1956 and 1965 before twice occupying the hot seat at the Estádio da Luz from 1976 to 1979, then 1985-7. He steered them to the league title and Portuguese Cup during both spells.
LAST SEASON'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL
Benfica 0-1 Chelsea
27 March 2005 first leg Estádio da Luz
Benfica (4-1-3-2): Artur; Pereira, Luisão (c), Jardel, Emerson; Garcia (Nolito 81); Gaitán, Witsel, Bruno César (Rodrigo 68); Aimar (Matić 68), O Cardozo
Chelsea (4-4-1-1): Cech; Ferreira (Bosingwa 79), D Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Meireles (Lampard 67), Mikel, Kalou (Sturridge 82); Mata; Torres
Scorer Kalou (74)
Chelsea 2-1 Benfica
4 April 2005 second leg Stamford Bridge
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c) (Cahill 59), Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Mata (Meireles 79), Kalou; Torres (Drogba 88)
Scorers Lampard (20 pen), Meireles (90+2)
Benfica (4-1-3-2): Artur; Pereira (c) (sent off 39), Garcia, Emerson, Capdevila; Matić; Bruno César (Rodrigo 72), Witsel, Gaitán (Djalo 61); O Cardozo (Oliveira 56), Aimar
Scorer Garcia (84)
Visit again at lunchtime for Part Two of the Briefing.
Although this will be our first competitive visit to the Amsterdam ArenA, we have played against DWS Amsterdam at the Olympisch Stadium in the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup second round second leg. We lost on a toss of a coin after both legs ended goalless.
A young Chelsea XI also played Ajax in a July 2010 friendly at the ArenA, going down 1-3 to Martin Jol's full-strength team.
The Blues are looking to become the fourth English club to lift the UEFA Cup/Europa League trophy. The three others are Liverpool (three times), Tottenham (twice) and Ipswich.
We are hoping to become the only English club to win all three major UEFA competitions, having won the Champions League last season and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998. Three clubs that have achieved it are Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich. (The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was not organised by UEFA.)
If the Super Cup is included, only two sides currently have the set: Juventus and Ajax. Chelsea are aiming to become the third.
This is the 37th successive midweek that our players have either played for the club or been away on international duty. The last clear week all the players were at Cobham training was the last week of August leading up to the Super Cup against Atlético Madrid.
|Chelsea have appeared in four previous European finals|
|1970/71||ECWC||Real Madrid in Piraeus||D 1-1*|
|Replay||Real Madrid in Piraeus||W 2-1|
|1997/98||ECWC||VfB Stuttgart in Stockholm||W 1-0|
|2007/08||UCL||Manchester United in Moscow||D 1-1**|
|2011/12||UCL||Bayern Munich in Munich||D 1-1+|
ECWC=European Cup Winners' Cup UCL=UEFA Champions League
|Chelsea's record against Portuguese teams|
|2004/05||Porto||Champions League group stage||H 3-1 A 1-2|
|2006/07||Porto||Champions League round of 16||H 2-1 A 1-1 (agg W 3-2)|
|2009/10||Porto||Champions League group stage||H 1-0 A 1-0|
|2011/12||Benfica||Champions League quarter-final||A 1-0 H 2-1 (agg W 3-1)|
Chelsea's last 10 years in Europe
2002/03 - UEFA Cup - first round
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners
|2012/13 Europa League results|
|Round of 32|
|Feb 14||Sparta Prague (a)||W 1-0|
|Feb 21||Sparta Prague (h)||D 1-1|
|Round of 16|
|Mar 7||Steaua Bucharest (a)||L 0-1|
|Mar 14||Steaua Bucharest (h)||W 3-1|
|Apr 4||Rubin Kazan (h)||W 3-1|
|Apr 11||Rubin Kazan (a)||L 2-3|
|Apr 25||Basel (a)||W 2-1|
|May 2||Basel (h)||W 3-1|
Europa League scorers Torres 5, Moses 4, D Luiz 2, Hazard 1, Mata 1, Oscar 1, Terry 1. Total 15
|Last six domestic results|
|Apr 17||Fulham (a)||W 3-0|
|Apr 21||Liverpool (a)||D 2-2|
|Apr 28||Swansea (h)||W 2-0|
|May 5||Manchester United (a)||W 1-0|
|May 8||Tottenham (h)||D 2-2|
|May 11||Aston Villa (a)||W 2-1|
Chelsea have scored 143 goals this season - a club record beating 142 scored in 2009/10.
32 league titles, last in 2010
24 Portuguese FA Cups, last in 2004
4 Portuguese League Cups, last in 2012
4 Portuguese Super Cups, last in 2005
2 European Cups in 1961 and 1962
Last ten league seasons
2002/03 - 2nd
2003/04 - 2nd
2004/05 - 1st
2005/06 - 3rd
2006/07 - 3rd
2007/08 - 4th
2008/09 - 3rd
2009/10 - 1st
2010/11 - 2nd
2011/12 - 2nd
Benfica have appeared in eight previous European finals. They have lost the last six since lifting a trophy against Real Madrid in Amsterdam at the old Olympisch Stadium 51 years ago.
|1960/61||EC||Barcelona in Bern||W 3-2|
|1961/62||EC||Real Madrid in Amsterdam||W 5-3|
|1962/63||EC||AC Milan at Wembley||L 1-2|
|1964/65||EC||Inter Milan in Milan||L 0-1|
|1967/68||EC||Manchester Utd at Wembley||L 1-4*|
|1982/83||UC||Anderlecht||H L 0-1 A D 1-1 (agg L 1-2)|
|1987/88||EC||PSV Eindhoven inStuttgart||D 0-0**|
|1989/90||EC||AC Milan in Vienna||L 0-1|
UC=UEFA Cup EC=European Cup
Apart from Chelsea last season, Benfica have met London opposition twice before in the European Cup and won both times, against Tottenham in 1961/62 semi-finals and Arsenal in the 1991/92 second round.
Benfica's record against English teams is 10 wins, five draws and 16 defeats.
They lost the 1968 European Cup final 4-1 to Manchester United at Wembley.
Lima (18) and Oscar Cardozo (16) are the Portuguese Liga's second and third highest scorers. Porto's Jackson Martinez has scored 25.
Benfica were Amsterdam Tournament winners in July 2009 at the Amsterdam ArenA. They beat Sunderland 2-0, then hosts Ajax 3-2 - David Luiz netting what would prove the winner in the 55th minute.
Benfica have won 22 of their 29 domestic and European matches since the beginning of the year. Their two defeats in that time have come in the last five games.
Benfica's record against English teams in Europe
|Benfica's record against English teams|
|1961/62||Tottenham||European Cup semi-final||H 3-1 A 1-2 (agg W 4-3)|
|1965/66||Man Utd||European Cup quarter-final||A 2-3 H 1-5 (agg L 3-8)|
|1967/68||Man Utd||European Cup final||N 1-4 aet|
|1972/73||Derby||European Cup second round||A 0-3 H 0-0 (agg L 0-3)|
|1977/78||Liverpool||European Cup quarter-final||H 1-2 A 1-4 (agg L 2-6)|
|1983/84||Liverpool||European Cup quarter-final||A 0-1 H 1-4 (agg L 1-5)|
|1984/85||Liverpool||European Cup second round||A 1-3 H 1-0 (agg L 2-3)|
|1991/92||Arsenal||European Cup second round||H 1-1 A 3-1 (agg W 4-2)|
|2005/06||Man Utd||Champions League group stage||A 1-2 H 2-1|
|2005/06||Liverpool||Champions League round of 16||H 1-0 A 2-0 (agg W 3-0)|
|2006/07||Man Utd||Champions League group stage||H 0-1 A 1-3|
|2009/10||Everton||Europa League group stage||H 5-0 A 2-0|
|2009/10||Liverpool||Europa League quarter-final||H 2-1 A 1-4 (agg L 3-5)|
|2011/12||Man Utd||Champions League group stage||H 1-1 A 2-2|
|2011/12||Chelsea||Champions League quarter-final||H 0-1 A 1-2 (agg L 1-3)|
|2012/13||Newcastle||Europa League quarter-final||H 3-1 A 1-1 (agg W 4-2)|
Ten-year European record
|2012/13 Europa League results|
|Round of 32|
|Feb 14||Bayer Leverkusen (a)||W 1-0|
|Feb 21||Bayer Leverkusen (h)||W 2-1|
|Round of 16|
|Mar 7||Bordeaux (h)||W 1-0|
|Mar 14||Bordeaux (a)||W 3-2|
|Apr 4||Newcastle (h)||W 3-1|
|Apr 11||Newcastle (a)||D 1-1|
|Apr 25||Fenerbahçe (a)||L 0-1|
|May 2||Fenerbahçe (h)||W 3-1|
Europa League scorers
O Cardozo 6 (1 pen), Gaitán 1, Jardel 1, John 1, Lima 1, Matić 1, Rodrigo 1, Salvio 1, own goal 1. Total 14
|Last six domestic results|
|Apr 7||Olhanense (a)||W 2-0|
|Apr 15||Paços de Ferreira (Cup h)||D 1-1|
|Apr 21||Sporting Lisbon (h)||W 2-0|
|Apr 29||Maritimo (a)||W 2-1|
|May 6||Estoril-Praia (h)||D 1-1|
|May 12||Porto (a)||L 1-2|
|2012/13 Portuguese Liga top 5|
|3||Paços de Ferreira||29||+15||54|
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Björn Kuipers, his two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees are all from host country the Netherlands. This will be his fourth Chelsea match and three previous UEFA Champions League games, all away, ended in two wins (Žilina and Copenhagen) and a draw (Atlético).
Benfica's Maxi Pereira is the only suspended player on either side.
A third European final in a row for Chelsea looked to be heading for extra-time after a Benfica penalty had levelled up Fernando Torres's second-half goal, but with stoppage time underway, Branislav Ivanovic's superb header won the Europa League.
Both halves followed a similar pattern, more possession and territorial advantage for the Portuguese side but Frank Lampard came closest to scoring before the interval, and he hit woodwork late in the game too.
Torres's strike, his sixth in this competition this season, came on the hour, the Spaniard expertly finishing off a counter-attack. The penalty, for handball soon after, was despatched by Benfica's leading scorer in the tournament, Oscar Cardozo. Ivanovic's decider was from a Juan Mata corner.
The Blues have that winning feeling yet again.
Both wingers were changed from the weekend win at Villa, Ramires moved to a wide-right position for this game with Oscar coming in. They replaced injured Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, who was on the bench.
Benfica had one enforced change from the semi-final with right-back Maxi Pereira suspended. Andre Almeida moved across from left-back to replace him with Lorenzo Melgarjo coming in on the left. Nicolas Gaitan moved from midfield in the Fenerbahçe games to play as one of the front three.
After an opening ceremony featuring plenty of giant tulips and windmills, it was time for the main event in the Dutch capital. The still-reigning European champions lined up against a club that had lost their previous six European finals.
The first chance was for the Portuguese - and centre-forward Oscar Cardoza must have been unhappy not the head a cross from the right at least on-target with just two minutes played. Cesar Azpilicueta then had to get his chest in the way of a ball diverted towards the Chelsea goal by Ivanovic.
There were words from the referee to Nemanja Matic five minutes in after he bundled Ramires to the turf on halfway, but no booking for the former Chelsea midfielder. Unfortunately Oscar couldn't control a well-weighted ball over the defence by Juan Mata with the offside flag staying down.
Worryingly, Benfica were finding a fair amount of space in the 20 yards up to the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, giving them the chance to work the ball into the danger zone. Ivanovic blocked a shot from Cardozo, followed immediately by Cole blocking Salvio's effort. Then Gaitan skied a shot from inside the box and straight away held his head in hands. Other scrambles in front of Cech followed.
Oscar was booked for illegally ending Perez's run through the middle.
Around the midway point in the half the game became stop-start for a period, which suited Chelsea given the flow of the match so far. With one of several free-kicks awarded, Mata drew a double-fist save from the keeper from out wide, and Artur's handling wasn't the best when Oscar shot at him from the outside the area.
On 30 minutes Ivanovic caught Perez 10 years outside the Chelsea area after Cole's clearance had fallen to the midfielder with the defence stretched. There was no booking however and danger soon passed when Garay's free-kick struck the wall. Soon Gaitan side-footed a shot over the bar. Benfica were gaining the upper hand once again.
Finally, on 37 minutes, Chelsea truly tested Artur and Lampard brought the best out of the keeper too. Picking up the ball in prime territory, the 203-goal man let fly and the ball was swerving away from Artur when he somehow adjusted his movement mid-air and saved with one arm. Lampard's reaction was one of a man who knew most times he would have found the net with such a connection.
Inside stoppage time, Torres and Ramires created momentary chaos in the Benfica rearguard, resulting in a deliberate tug on Oscar as he made a break through the middle. A yellow card was shown to Garay.
Chelsea were asked to defend stoutly in the opening minutes after the interval, with balls coming in from both flanks, but still Cech had yet to be asked to make a proper save. Azpilicueta tracked inside diligently and hacked the ball off the toes of Salvio in front of goal when Cardozo had turned inside Cahill and squared.
Cardozo had the ball in the net on 50 minutes but he was offside.
Steadily Chelsea began to gain a foothold in the half. There were moves in and around the Portuguese team's penalty area without openings found, but it was better from the men in blue.
Then just before an hour was played, Cech launched a throw down the centre of the park. Mata may or may not have helped it on his way but he did enough to stop the Benfica midfield cutting it out.
Suddenly it was at the feet of Torres and he had the strength to shrug off Benfica captain Luisao before sidestepping to the right of the keeper and making no mistake with the finish. It was a moment of vintage Torres striking.
Luisao then picked up a booking for chopping down the Chelsea centre-forward in the next attack.
The lead lasted less than 10 minutes. Azpilicueta, so unfortunate with penalty decisions in this Europa League run, was judged to have handballed a flick off the head of Lima, one of two substitutes only just introduced. The Chelsea right-back had little time to react to the touch but his arm was raised.
Unlike in Munich a year ago, Cech was unable to keep the penalty out. Cardozo scored it.
Torres wanted a penalty at the other end with quarter of an hour left on the clock when he and Luisao came together again but the Dutch referee declined. There was a plenty of contact.
On 81 minutes Cech was finally called upon to show his talent in open play when Cardozo launched a rocket that was heading under the bar. Big Pete tipped it over.
Spaces, inevitably at this stage of the game and this stage of the season, were opening up at either end. Ramires charged into one but Luisao got across to tackle.
With 87 minutes played, Lampard came within inches of winning the cup. Mata, who had not been heavily involved so far, worked some magic to push the ball out of a tight spot and our No.8 was running laterally when he thumped a shot from 25 yards out against the crossbar.
Benfica forced Chelsea into some hurried clearing as the clock ticked towards the end of normal time, but then another tireless Ramires run won a corner inside stoppage time. Mata sent the ball over deep and Ivanovic, between two defenders rose sky high. His header arced beautifully over the grounded Artur before the Serbian slid joyously in celebration in front of the Chelsea fans at that end.
What a moment for the man forced to sit out at Munich due to suspension.
There was still time for one last Benfica attack - the ball running loose off Ivanovic's shin - but Cahill was in the right place for a superb double clearance. A new trophy was ours.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole; David Luiz, Lampard (c); Ramires, Mata, Oscar; Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Ake, Mikel, Benayoun, Marin, Moses.
Scorers Torres 59, Ivanovic 90+2
Booked Oscar 13.
Benfica (4-1-3-2): Artur; Almeida, Luisão (c), Garay (Jardel 77), Melgarejo (John 65); Matić; Salvio, Peréz; Gaitán; Rodrigo (Lima 65), Cardozo
Unused subs: Paulo Lopes, Urreta, André Gomes, Aimar.
Scorer Cardozo 67 pen.
Booked Garay 45, Luisao 61
Referee Björn Kuipers from the Netherlands.