Chelsea were inspired by harsh Basel penalty, says Benitez

Rafael Benitez has put Chelsea’s late winning goal in their Europa League semi-final against Basel down to the injustice the players felt at the award of a controversial penalty, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Chelsea were leading the tie in Switzerland through a Victor Moses goal when the referee, Pavel Kralovec, awarded the home side a penalty after Valentin Stocker tumbled under minimal pressure from Cesar Azpilicueta. Fabian Schar converted from 12 yards to level the scores with only minutes remaining, but David Luiz smashed home an injury-time free-kick to restore the Premier League side’s advantage.

And Benitez believes it was the anger resulting from the penalty decision that compelled Chelsea to score a second goal. He said: “ We all had this feeling that we didn’t deserve to concede a goal like that. It was an extra motivation.

It was a very strange decision, a surprise for everybody and could’ve made the difference. Nobody felt that it was a penalty because the ball was in the air. Of course it wasn’t a penalty. To be a penalty it has to be very, very clear. Not like that.

Benitez also rejected the suggestion that Luiz should have been sent off for a challenge on Philipp Degen before he struck the crucial winning goal, insisting instead that the yellow card shown to the Brazil international was a fair punishment for the tackle.

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