Skip to main content

Benitez leads Chelsea to third semifinal

updated 6:15 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Fernando Torres is congratulated by Frank Lampard after his opening goal set Chelsea on their way to a second straight European semi
Fernando Torres is congratulated by Frank Lampard after his opening goal set Chelsea on their way to a second straight European semi
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chelsea reach second straight European semi despite losing 3-2 in Russia to Rubin Kazan
  • Fenerbahce and Basel celebrate maiden berths in a major European semifinal
  • Benfica also make it through after late strike earns 4-2 aggregate win over Newcastle

(CNN) -- Chelsea reached their third semifinal under Rafa Benitez, and their 18th in the Roman Abramovich era, despite losing the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal to Rubin Kazan 3-2.

Thanks to their 3-1 victory in the first leg though, the Blues stay on course to add the continent's second tier title to the Champions League crown they so famously won last May.

Swiftly after the match, Benitez's thoughts immediately turned to Sunday's FA Cup semifinal clash with Manchester City at Wembley.

The Spaniard, whose Stamford Bridge tenure has been fraught with tension given his difficult relationship with Chelsea fans, knows he has already taken charge of one semifinal with the Blues -- one which ended in disappointing League Cup defeat to Swansea.

"It doesn't too matter too much [about the result]," Benitez told ESPN television after the match in Moscow.

Gullit: Mourinho will return to Chelsea
Petr Cech: Refs need to be more open
Cech's recovery from fractured skull
Ibrahimovic reveals biggest weakness

"There were circumstances such as the pitch, so it was a professional job and I was pleased with the players' effort.

"We are pleased to get through, but a little disappointed because we could have done a little better in defense, but the main thing was to progress.

"We have to manage both games in the Europa League and FA Cup. Some of them will not play on Sunday but we can carry on in different competitions, which is good for the squad."

The success capped a triumphant return to the artificial surface of the Luzhniki Stadium, where Chelsea lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United, after Rubin Kazan were forced to play away from home given concerns over the state of their stadium.

Chelsea will discover their opponents in the last four on Friday, when European body UEFA conducts the draw for both the Europa League and Champions League.

Thursday proved a mixed night for English clubs, with Newcastle United exiting at the hands of Benfica, with the Portuguese side tipped by many to win the competition, while Tottenham Hotspur were knocked out by Basel.

Playing at home and trailing 3-1 from the first leg, the Magpies made a late breakthrough through Papiss Cisse and had a shot at glory only for substitute Hatem Ben Arfa to fire over with time running out.

In stoppage time, Eduardo Salvio finished off a slick counterattack to ensure the Eagles progressed and stamped their authority on the 4-2 aggregate scoreline.

Swiss side Basel, meanwhile, held their nerve to win a penalty shootout 4-1 after the tie had ended 4-4 on aggregate, with Spurs holding the home side to a 2-2 draw.

After Jan Vertonghen was sent off late on for the visitors, Spurs seemed to believe a shootout was their best chance of victory - but Basel were flawless from 12 yards and reached their first European semifinal in the 120th year of the club's existence.

A similar fate befell Fenerbahce, who took a 2-0 lead to a deserted Olympic Stadium in Rome, where they faced a Lazio side playing behind closed doors as punishment for their supporters' poor record on racism.

The home side struggled to find a breakthrough until Senad Lulic scored on the hour mark but shortly after, Caner Erkin equalized to mark an historic chapter for a Turkish club founded in 1907.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT