Chelsea supporters around the Cayman Islands clamoured to sports bars to see their beloved team hoist another trophy, this time the Europa League championship with a 2-1 victory over Benfica on Wednesday.
Rafael Benitez’s six-month reign as Chelsea’s interim manager ended in triumph and even the most hostile Blues fan must be grateful to the Spaniard who steered them to this victory at the Amsterdam Arena as well as securing a Champions League spot.
Branislav Ivanovic’s superb header sealed it for the West London side in the dying seconds. Against the run of play, the inconsistent Fernando “Sulky Suzie” Torres surprised all by putting Chelsea ahead on the hour before Oscar Cardozo’s penalty deservedly equalised for Benfica.
Super Frank Lampard, 34, skippered Chelsea in what many thought was his penultimate match before he revealed on Thursday that he has signed a one-year contract to stay.
Lampard smacked the crossbar from 30 yards near the end and showed he could go on forever, which is why even Manchester United were interested in his services.
Like the Champions League final last year, Chelsea were blessed with more than their fair share of luck and could have been three down by half-time.
Nevertheless, they absorbed the pressure and scored when it mattered and have another European trophy in the cupboard. London rivals Arsenal must be gutted after another barren season at the Emirates.
No wonder Chelsea faithful Gus Rodriguez at Fidel Murphy’s bar in George Town was a proud wearer of a Blues shirt – albeit a No. 11 with Drogba on the back.
Benitez leaves Stamford Bridge following Sunday’s final Premier League game against Everton, mission accomplished.
With Lampard staying and more big signings expected in the summer, Chelsea can expect more silverware, even if there is always turmoil behind the scenes.