FERNANDO Torres’ Europa League hot streak continued as Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals despite a 3-2 defeat in their quarter-final second leg with Rubin Kazan at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Torres, who scored twice in the 3-1 first-leg win, struck his 19th of the season after four minutes with a deft lob, but Chelsea endured a difficult evening on the synthetic surface before going through 5-4 on aggregate.
Three goals in 13 second-half minutes, two of them for Rubin, had Chelsea worried, as Ivan Marcano and Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored headers either side of Victor Moses’ curled effort.
Bebras Natcho’s 75th-minute penalty led to an anxious finale, but Chelsea held on to advance to today’s semi-final draw. Interim manager Rafael Benitez said: “In the circumstances, with a tough pitch, some players out and lots of young players it’s a professional job.”
There was disappointment for Newcastle United as they exited the competition after failing to overhaul a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Benfica.
Alan Pardew’s side could only draw 1-1 at home on the night and were eliminated on a 4-2 aggregate scoreline.
Papiss Demba Cisse had given Newcastle brief hope by heading the opening goal on 71 minutes from Shola Ameobi’s clipped cross, however the Benfica substitute Eduardo Salvio converted Rodrigo’s low cross in the second minute of stoppage time to secure a place in the semi-finals for the Portuguese side.
Lazio are also out after a 1-1 draw with Fenerbahce in Rome. Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Istanbul, the Italians went ahead on the night through Senad Lulic’s header. But 13 minutes later Fenerbahce levelled courtesy of Caner Erkin’s drive to seal a 3-1 aggregate victory.