Just days after conceding the Portuguese League to rivals Porto, Jorge Jesus’ club completed a collapse of epic proportions not seen since Sporting Lisbon’s 2005 campaign. A late goal by Chelsea’s central defender Branislav Ivanović was the difference as the London-club defeated Benfica 2-1 in the Europa League final in Amsterdam on Wednesday night.

Jorge Jesus fielded a familiar 4-3-3 formation, with Oscar Cardozo leading the attack. Eduardo Salvio and Nicolas Gaitan started on the wings. Chelsea were without the injured John Terry and Eden Hazard, but fielded a strong squad with former Benfica players David Luiz and Ramires.

The two clubs played to a scoreless first half, with Benfica controlling most of the possession and managing the most scoring chances. In the second half, Os Encarnados started brightly against the Blues. Benfica thought they scored after Oscar Cardozo capitalized off a brilliant cross by Nicolas Gaitán, but it was called offside. The replay shows that the call was very close, but it was probably the right decision.

Soon after the disallowed goal Chelsea’s Fernando Torres was put in alone by Juan Mata. Torres dribbled past Benfica Goalkeeper Artur and scored. Despite being the better team, Benfica were a goal down at the hour mark of the match.

But the Portuguese club did not quit and they were given life when Chelsea defender César Azpilicueta handled the ball in the box, giving Benfica a good chance to tie the match. Oscar Cardozo stepped up and scored on the ensuing penalty.

Chelsea quickly responded with a few good chances and seemed to come into the game more as the second half unfolded. Oscar Cardozo had the best chance for Benfica when he let go a good shot just outside the box which Petr Cech tipped over the bar.

Now into injury time, disaster struck for Benfica. Chelsea’s defender Branislav Ivanović scored off a corner by Juan Mata. Jardel and Andre Almeida could do nothing but watch as Ivanovic brilliantly executed a header to put Chelsea ahead for good.

Manager Jorge Jesus told SIC television that he was proud of his club’s performance. “We conceded another goal in the 92nd minute. But it was a final between two good clubs, Benfica were better for most of the match. We were missing that lucky break which would have put us ahead, which we would have deserved.”

Jesus is likely to receive most of the criticism for the last two defeats but club president Luís Filipe Vieira told media after the match that he will remain with the club.

“I have already said that Jorge Jesus is my manager and he will continue to be for many years. He is part of our plans and I am very satisfied with what he has been able to accomplish.”

Second half substitute Lima told media that Benfica deserved to win based on its overall performance. “We were the better club on the field. It is difficult to explain. We want to thank our supporters who came to support us by the masses. We wanted to win for them, for us and for our families. Unfortunately, we were not able to do so. Now we have to hold our heads high.”

Jorge Jesus’ club entered Saturday’s match against Porto with a one point lead over their archrivals, only to lose on a late goal by Kelvin. The loss means that Porto could clinch a third straight domestic league title with a win on the weekend against Paços de Ferreira.

On Wednesday night in Amsterdam, Jorge Jesus’ club was hoping to erase the memory of the devastating loss on Saturday by winning their first major international trophy since their second European Cup trophy win in 1962. But it was not to be.

In the span of less than a week, Benfica have lost their slim lead in the Portuguese League, as well as the Europa League final. To make matters worse, both matches were lost on goals in injury time in the second half.

José Peseiro’s Sporting Lisbon side had a similar thing happen to them in the 2004-05 season when they gave up the lead in the Portuguese League and lost the UEFA Cup final to CSKA Moscow within a week. The UEFA Cup final was held at their home ground, the Estádio José Alvalade that year.

The loss to Chelsea means the most successful and popular club in Portuguese football have lost a total of seven consecutive finals in major European competitions. The two-time winners of the European Cup/Champions League have lost in the finals of that competition a total of five consecutive times (1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, 1990).

Wednesday’s loss in Amsterdam to Chelsea was their second loss in the UEFA Cup/Europa League tournament. They also lost to Anderlecht in 1983. They have never won the tournament.

Benfica entered Saturday’s match against FC Porto with the possibility of winning three trophies this season. A win against Vitória Guimarães in the Portuguese Cup final on May 26th would now be little consolation for Benfiquistas who within several days have seen their club’s promising season come to a disappointing end.

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