It’s been a long day of Europa League action, a day which has seen just one English side progress into the competition’s semi-final stages.
Rubin Kazan (3) 3-2 (5) Chelsea
Chelsea sealed their place in the Europa League semi-finals despite a careless second-leg defeat against Rubin Kazan in Russia.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg, the Blues scored a vital early away goal through Fernando Torres’s deft lob.
Ivan Marcano’s header gave Rubin hope but Victor Moses fired in to leave the hosts needing four more goals.
A Gokdeniz Karadeniz strike and Bebras Natcho’s penalty gave Chelsea a late scare but they held on to progress.
The Blues never looked in any danger of being eliminated during a comfortable first-half performance after Torres’s early opener.
But a contrasting display after the break, characterised by nervous defending on a synthetic pitch, denied Rafael Benitez’s side the luxury of a straightforward passage into the last four.
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez: “It doesn’t matter too much [about the result]. There were circumstances such as the pitch so it was a professional job and I was pleased with the effort of the players.
“We needed an early goal and Fernando Torres has got another goal and so has Victor Moses. We are pleased to get through, but disappointed a little bit because we could have done a little better in defence.
“They were pushing and have players with quality, but the main thing for us was to progress.
“We have to manage both games in the [Europa League and FA Cup. Some of them will not play on Sunday against Manchester City but we can carry on in different competitions which is good for the squad.”
FC Basel (4) 2-2 (4) Tottenham (Basel win 4-1 on penalties)
In Switzerland, Basel won 4-1 on penalties after the quarter-final second leg ended 2-2 after extra-time, 4-4 on aggregate.
Clint Dempsey had put Spurs ahead before Mohamed Salah equalised.
Aleksandar Dragovic made it 2-1 from close range before Dempsey levelled, while Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen was sent off close to the end of normal time.
Basel will join Chelsea, Fenerbahce and Benfica in Friday’s semi-final draw after Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor, with a wild kick over the crossbar, missed from the penalty spot.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas told ITV: “My first thoughts are for the players, they set a great example for the country. The way they approached the competition, playing every Thursday and Sunday.
“They showed the country it is possible to approach it in a different way. I will cherish this and so should the players, we made the country feel different about the competition.
“It has seen most of the English teams change their approach to the competition and that now it means a lot. We set the standard for the future, next time we will go better as it could not have gone worse tonight.”
Newcastle (2) 1-1 (4) Benfica
Newcastle were knocked out of the Europa League by Benfica after a late goal ended their hopes of completing a famous victory at St James’ Park.
The hosts, trailing 3-1 from the first leg, had two Papiss Cisse efforts disallowed, either side of the break.
Cisse finally put them ahead after 71 minutes from Shola Ameobi’s cross to put them within a goal of the semis.
But in stoppage time Eduardo Salvio struck on the counter-attack as the Portuguese side reached the last four.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew speaking on ITV4: “No regret, in terms of the game plan, they are a good side, so you can’t let them have the lead. We almost got one before half time and in the second half we [knew we] would give them a real good seeing to.
“I can’t ask for anything more from the crowd and the players.
“You have to respect the opposition, they are a superb side, they have three or four players there that will be around in European football for 10 years. I am proud of the players, you can’t ask for anymore. I’m proud of the performance and the way they played.”
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