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Torres propels Blues as Spurs lose Bale in draw

ESPN staff
April 4, 2013


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Chelsea will take a two-goal advantage to Russia after beating Rubin Kazan in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, on a night where Tottenham appeared to lose Gareth Bale to a serious injury after fighting back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw against FC Basel at home.

Newcastle United, meanwhile, will need a memorable night at St James' Park if they are to reach the semi-finals of the competition, after falling to a 3-1 defeat to Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea claimed a 3-1 win over Rubin Kazan thanks to two goals from Fernando Torres - but Bebars Natcho's 41st minute penalty will give the Russians some hope going into the return meeting.

Torres - wearing a protective mask once again - broke the deadlock with a scrambled first half finish, before Victor Moses doubled the Blues' advantage with a well-taken control and volley from the edge of the box.

Natcho then grabbed a potentially crucial away goal from the spot after John Terry was adjudged to have handballed a shot but, in the second half, Torres gave manager Rafa Benitez some breathing room - powering home a close range header.

At White Hart Lane, meanwhile, Tottenham's recovery to claim a 2-2 draw against FC Basel was perhaps marred by a serious-looking late injury to Gareth Bale.

Bale was stretchered off in injury time with his leg in a protective brace after jarring his ankle in an awkward collision, after Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson had both scored to bring Andre Villas-Boas's side back from 2-0 down.

Basel arrived in North London with a reputation for giant-killing after last year's defeat of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The Swiss champions lived up to the hype, scoring two impressive away goals, but their task was made so much easier by some poor Spurs defending.

Valentin Stocker punished Kyle Naughton's lax marking by slotting home the first and a shell-shocked Tottenham were 2-0 down by the 34th minute when Fabian Frei was left alone to head home a corner.

Adebayor's fifth of the season and Gylfi Sigurdsson's second-half effort - aided by a deflection - brought the scores level, but the two away goals leave Villas-Boas' men in serious danger of exiting the competition at the quarter-final stages.

In Portugal, Newcastle took an early lead but were eventually beaten 3-1 by Benfica.

Papiss Cisse grabbed an important away goal for Alan Pardew's side, sliding in to turn home Moussa Sissoko's driven cross, but Benfica slowly fought back - with Rodrigo grabbing the equaliser prior to half-time, before Lima and Oscar Cardozo (from the penalty spot) gave the Portuguese side a healthy advantage.

Cisse was denied by the goalframe again early in the second half as his delicate lob struck the upright, and then a terrible error by Davide Santon allowed Lima to put the hosts ahead.

Tim Krul, returning to the Newcastle goal, made a number of impressive saves throughout the contest but was beaten twice by Cardozo from the spot after Steven Taylor had been guilty of handball - the Paraguay international ordered to retake his initial attempt for encroachment, before coolly beating Krul again in the opposite corner.

In the other quarter-final, Fenerbahce edged Lazio 2-0 in Turkey thanks to Pierre Webo's second half penalty and Dirk Kuyt's late finish.

Ogenyi Onazi's red card three minutes after the break handed the initiative to the Turks, but, after hitting a post and seeing a succession of other chances come and go, they looked in danger of being frustrated.

But January signing Webo held his nerve after Stefan Radu had handled in the area to opening the scoring and Kuyt added a second on the rebound at the death.

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