Chelsea 3 - 1 Rubin Kazan - Torres’ two give Blues edge
Scorers: Chelsea - Torres (16, 70), Moses (32); Rubin Kazan - Natcho (41 pen)
The striker, who so often has appeared burdened by his £50 million price tag, netted a scrappy opener after 16 minutes and a headed second after 70 minutes to double his tally for 2013, while Victor Moses was also on target for the Blues.
But the first leg was not altogether straightforward for last season’s Champions League winners as Bebras Natcho converted a penalty after John Terry was adjudged to have blocked a shot with his arm.
The Blues were patient in the opening 15 minutes before the direct route paid off when David Luiz’s ball from deep found Torres, who was playing in a protective face mask after suffering a broken nose against Steaua Bucharest in the previous round.
The Spaniard got 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 and first since the home defeat of Steaua.
Natcho tested Petr Cech from 25 yards for the visitors before Chelsea doubled their lead.
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 from the spot.
Chelsea looked to restore their two-goal lead after the break and a flick from Yossi Benayoun enabled the Blues to surge forward in the 70th minute as he found Torres.
Torres checked, found Frank Lampard, who in turn fed Juan Mata, who was given time to cross. Mata found his compatriot and Torres converted with a powerful header.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Luiz, Bertrand, Ramires, Lampard, Moses (Hazard 65), Benayoun (Marin 83), Mata (Oscar 78), Torres. Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Mikel, Ferreira.
Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov, Cesar Navas, Kuzmin (Kasaev 82), Kaleshin, Ansaldi, Sharonov, Orbaiz, Roman Eremenko, Karadeniz, Natcho, Dyadyun (Rondon 46). Subs Not Used: Arlauskis, Ryazantsev, Kisliak, Marcano, Tore.