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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Crystal Palace’s hopes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek return boosted after latest comments
The midfielder is unlikely to get what he’s after at his parent club.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has boosted Crystal Palace‘s hopes of securing his services for another season, after claiming he will only remain with Chelsea this summer if guaranteed a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season, in quotes via Sky Sports.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park after making just 31 appearances for Chelsea since his debut in 2014, and his immense talents have earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this World Cup.
“I want to play as much as I can,” revealed Loftus-Cheek. “Even this past season just gone, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of injuries. So I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.”
Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s outfit last term, and is still unhappy with the amount of minutes he managed, so it’s pretty safe to assume Chelsea – given the disastrous domestic season they’ve just had – won’t be bettering his previous return, or be prioritising taking chances on academy products next season.
And Palace will be keen to offer the stylish midfielder a deal to extend his stay with the former England manager, where, if available, he will continue to be considered one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Palace are likely to face competition from rival clubs though, as Loftus-Cheek is emerging as a star on the biggest stage of all in Russia; having flourished in his brief cameo against Tunisia. And he’s now considered likely to start against Panama, with Dele Alli nursing a slight injury.
Aston Villa could reportedly owe John Terry £560,000 in wages
The owner may have to sell shares in the club.
Aston Villa’s financial mess looks likely to continue, as the cash-strapped club could now owe captain John Terry a whopping £560,000 in wages, unless he transfers to a different club this summer, according to reports from the Times.
Villa are said to have reached an agreement with HMRC to postpone a payment of £4 million last week, but a further payment is expected this week and the club owner Tony Xia may have to go as far as to sell shares in the club to ensure all debts are paid.
The ex-Chelsea legend announced his impending departure from the midlands club last month, after they failed to secure Premier League promotion in the play-offs and his current contract is due to expire at the end of the month. But he is said to be entitled to a further month’s pay.
His weekly-wage packet was said to be worth £70,000 at Villa Park, meaning the overdue payments from the last two-months add up to over half-a-million for the 37-year-old defender. However, the outstanding July payment will only stand if Terry retires or remains a free-agent, meaning Villa will be keen to land him a new club.
Villa reportedly need £40 million in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations (Birmingham Mail), after gambling that they would gain promotion to the Premier League this season.
England must start Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Panama reveal tactics
England must opt for creativity after the Panama captain’s comments
Panama have revealed plans stifle England with a physical approach in their upcoming clash on Sunday, in quotes from captain Roman Torres on the Telegraph, and Gareth Southgate should ensure the Three Lions’ approach is suited to the style of opponent.
The Central Americans were beaten 3-0 by a star-studded Belgium outfit on Monday in their World Cup debut, meaning a win against England is pivotal in ensuring they remain in the competition beyond the group stages. And England will have a tough task taking the lion’s share of points on the day.
“England are a bit more direct than Belgium. They try to make use of the pace they have. We’ll need to be compact and limit their space,” revealed Torres told the Telegraph.
And as a result England must employ the right tactics. Creativity and bravery will be key, as they will undoubtedly have the majority of possession, and Southgate will want to make it count. Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added instant impetus to a languid outfit, after coming on late against Tunisia.
The team’s performance became full of purpose and directness in the last 20 minutes, with both taking the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and creating, and from that arrived the corner and subsequent winner from Harry Kane.
The end product from the likes of Rashford was missing in the opening stages of the game also, as team-mate Jesse Lingard squandered a number of key opportunities to put the game to bed early, and Southgate will not want a repeat this time around.