Chelsea reach Europa semis

2013-04-11 20:17
Fernando Torres (AFP)

Moscow - Chelsea reached the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday despite losing 3-2 to Rubin Kazan in the second leg of their quarter-final while English Premier League rivals Newcastle crashed out.

The London club went through 5-4 on aggregate after winning 3-1 in last week's first leg and remain on course to win the Europa League a year after triumphing in the Champions League.

Thursday's match was played on the artificial surface at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, 800km west of Rubin's home in Tatarstan, because UEFA ruled the Russian club's own pitch to be in unfit condition.

VIDEO: Rubin Kazan v Chelsea, highlights

Chelsea fans will forever associate the Luzhniki with their team's painful penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final, although this occasion had a very different feel to it, with the 80 000-capacity venue barely a quarter full.

The Premier League side got off to a glorious start, taking the lead in the fourth minute with Fernando Torres - who netted a brace in the first leg - lobbing into an empty net as Rubin 'keeper Sergei Ryzhikov came racing out of his area.

Rubin were given hope when Spanish defender Ivan Marcano headed in a cross from compatriot Pablo Orbaiz six minutes into the second half, but Victor Moses soon restored Chelsea's lead on the night, playing a one-two with Ramires and then curling a shot into the net from 15 yards.

That goal left the Russians needing to score four times without reply to rescue the tie.

Captain Gokdeniz Karadeniz did pull one back before Bebras Natcho converted a penalty after Cesar Azpilicueta was harshly penalised for a foul on Aleksandr Ryazantsev in the box.

That allowed Rubin to win the game on the night, but Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez was pleased to be in the semi-final draw.

"The scoreline doesn't matter too much. We did a professional job and I am really pleased with the players," he told ESPN television.

"Playing on this pitch and in that atmosphere was not easy, but the main thing for us was to do (the)job."

Newcastle were held to a 1-1 draw by Benfica but were beaten 4-2 on aggregate after a 3-1 mauling in Portugal in the first leg.

Papiss Cisse gave the English side a 71st-minute lead on the night at St James Park, poking in the ball after good work by Hatem Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi.

But any hope of a dramatic victory were snuffed out in extra-time by an Eduardo Salvio leveller.

Fenerbache reached their first European semi-final after a 1-1 draw in Italy against Lazio gave them a 3-1 aggregate win.

Senad Lulic put Lazio ahead on the hour mark inside an empty Olympic Stadium in Rome - punishment for the Italian side's woeful record over racism.

But on 73 minutes Caner Erkin equalised to put the Turks into Friday's semi-final draw.

In Switzerland, Basel beat Tottenham 4-1 on penalties after the side's were level at 2-2 after extra time (4-4 aggregate).

Europa League quarter-final second-leg results on Thursday:


Rubin Kazan (RUS) 3 (Marcano 51, Gokdeniz 62, Natcho 75-pen) Chelsea 2 (Torres 5, Moses 55)

Chelsea win 5-4 on aggregate


Newcastle United (ENG) 1 (Cisse 71) Benfica (POR) 1 (Salvio 90+2)

Benfica win 4-2 on aggregate


Lazio (ITA) 1 (Lulic 60) Fenerbahce (TUR) 1 (Erkin 73)

Fenerbache win 3-1 on aggregate


Basel (SUI) 2 (Salah 27, Dragovic 49) Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 2 (Dempsey 23, 83)

4-4 on aggregate after extra-time

Basel win 4-1 on penalties

Read more on:    chelsea  |  europa league  |  soccer

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