Europa League: Fernando Torres bags brace in comfortable Chelsea win
Last Updated: 05/04/13 11:08am
Chelsea will go into their UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Rubin Kazan next week with a healthy 3-1 advantage thanks in large to a brace from Fernando Torres.
The beleaguered Spanish forward bundled home the opening goal of the night early on before Victor Moses lashed in a stunning second. However, the visitors pulled one back when John Terry was penalised by referee Gianluca Rocchi for handball.
Bebars Natcho made no mistake from the spot, sending Petr Cech the wrong way four minutes from the break. Torres though bagged his second of the night with 20 minutes remaining as he climbed high to head the ball past Sergey Ryzhikov after a fine delivery from Juan Mata.
Rafa Benitez's side will head to the Luzhniki Stadium - scene of their 2008 Champions League final penalty shootout defeat to Manchester United - in the hope of sealing a spot in the last four, but the away goal could yet have a crucial bearing on the outcome.
The Blues were patient in the opening 15 minutes before the direct route paid off when David Luiz's ball from deep found Torres and the Spaniard managed to sneak in behind Rubin captain Roman Sharonov and the pair fell tussling for the ball. Torres managed to connect while sitting on the floor to prod the ball in for his third goal in 23 games.
The goal lifted Chelsea and the striker, who was confident enough to attempt an audacious cross soon afterwards which did not quite come off. Natcho tested Petr Cech from 25 yards for the visitors before Chelsea doubled their advantage.
Cesar Azpilicueta crossed from the right and Moses' bouncing header was well saved, but the ball came back to the forward, who struck a swerving half-volley into the top corner.
There was a moment of concern for Chelsea when Cech caught Vladimir Dyadyun with an elbow when meeting a long ball before referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the penalty spot after Cristian Ansaldi's shot hit Terry on the arm.
Terry's arm appeared to be in a natural position when the ball struck it, but he was booked and Natcho sent Cech the wrong way to claim a potentially crucial away goal to the delight of a group of around 50 visiting supporters.
Juan Mata might have restored Chelsea's two-goal lead early in the second half, but his low shot was well saved by Sergei Ryzhikov. Half-time substitute Jose Rondon then shot narrowly wide as Chelsea - and the match - desperately needed a lift.
Terry attempted to provide a spark by running from deep before Eden Hazard was introduced for Moses with 25 minutes remaining.
A flick from Benayoun, who might have made way for Hazard, enabled Chelsea to surge forward as he found his former Liverpool team-mate Torres. The striker checked, found Lampard, who in turn fed Mata, who was given time to cross. Mata found his compatriot and Torres converted with a powerful header.
Chants for Jose Mourinho filled the cool London air, but it is Benitez's Chelsea who go to Moscow next week seeking to reach the last four.
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Rubin Kazan|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||4|
|53.7||1st Half Poss.||46.3|
|48.4||2nd Half Poss.||51.6|
Europa League Group A
Europa League Group B
Europa League Group C
|1||Red Bull Salzburg||6||18|
Europa League Group D
Europa League Group E
Europa League Group F
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||6||11|
Europa League Group G
Europa League Group H
Europa League Group I
|3||Vitoria de Guimaraes||6||5|
Europa League Group J
Europa League Group K
|3||Sheriff Tiraspol (Mol)||6||6|
Europa League Group L
|3||Maccabi Haifa (Isr)||6||5|
Europa League quarter-finals
Emmanuel Adebayor has responded to criticisms over his poor penalty which saw Tottenham crash out of the Europa League.
Clint Dempsey believes Tottenham's season will be considered a failure if they do not qualify for the Champions League.
Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham have raised the profile of the Europa League in England this season.
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