Chelsea’s Europa League match-winner Branislav Ivanovic has hailed his stoppage-time header as one of the best moments of his career. The Serbian powered home to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Benfica at the Amsterdam ArenA.
It earned Ivanovic the man-of-the-match award and was personal redemption for the burly defender, who missed last year’s Champions League final triumph against Bayern Munich through suspension.
“This is one of the best moments of my career,” he said. He added: “Winning a European final like this is a dream. “I always said it is the team who win every title — not individuals. Even tonight we had some people missing through injury. But I am so happy. It is a pleasure to be part of this team.
“When you win one trophy, you should always want another. There is something within sport that keeps pushing you on. We have felt that a lot of times this season. We used it as extra motivation.”
£100 million spending spree
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s outgoing manager Rafael Benitez said after the win that the club will underline their desire to win yet more silverware next season by going on a £100million summer spending spree.
“Chelsea will be much better next season because they will spend £100million and they will sign three or four players,” Benitez told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
Lampard signs extension
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard has signed a new one-year contract with Chelsea. After a season of uncertainty over the midfielder’s future, the Blues yesterday confirmed the England midfielder will remain at Stamford Bridge next season. Lampard joined from West Ham in 2001 for £11million and has scored a club-record 203 goals in his 12 seasons in west London.
11 minutes: Ashley Cole’s crucial block denies Eduardo Salvio.
37: Benfica ’keeper Artur tips behind Frank Lampard’s swirling shot.
41: Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo sneaks in to the Chelsea box but heads over under pressure from Cahill.
50: Cardozo has a goal ruled out for offside, although he looks level.
59: Fernando Torres rounds Artur after surging past Luisao and finishes coolly to put Chelsea 1-0 up.
67: Azpilicueta handles Eduardo Salvo’s header in the Chelsea box and Cardozo converts the spot-kick to equalise.
81: Petr Cech just tips over Cardozo’s looping volley.
87: Lampard rattles the Benfica bar with a powerful shot.
90+3: Branislav Ivanovic climbs high to head home the winner.