CHELSEA’S Europa League final-winning goals could not have come from two more fitting players on a night when their never-say-die attitude proved the deciding factor.
While Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Ramires struggled to make an impact, the much-maligned Fernando Torres and rock-solid Branislav Ivanovic made the difference.
Torres was very good indeed, and unusually determined, as illustrated by his opening goal. He showed great strength to hold off Luisao, then a composure reminiscent of the Torres of old.
You could not begrudge Benfica an equaliser, yet the Blues fought to the last second and Ivanovic struck with a brilliant piece of heading technique.
His eyes were glued to the ball and, despite falling slightly backwards, he caught the ball flush on his forehead with power. The Serb is a vital part of his club’s backbone and thoroughly deserved his moment of glory.
Interim boss Rafael Benitez, meanwhile, can enjoy the summer knowing his mission has been a success. He was never going to be the fans’ choice, but has proved that he is still a winner and will surely be inundated with good job offers for next season.
Trevor Steven is a former England interntaional footballer. He now works as a media commentator.