Chelsea FC turned back the clock to reprise their come-from-behind heroics from last season's UEFA Champions League and finally extinguish the redoubtable challenge of FC Steaua Bucureşti.
When the Romanian side rubbed out Chelsea's opening goal – the Blues' 300th in European competition – on the stroke of half-time, it left the hosts needing to score twice more to earn a place in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. John Terry and Fernando Torres struck to see them through and maintain their dream of back-to-back European trophies.
Steaua's attacking stealth was underlined in the 13th minute when Raul Rusescu was sent clear of a creaking back line. The No24, whose penalty had divided the teams in last week's Bucharest first leg, shot too close to Petr Čech who pulled off a fine finger-tip save.
Chelsea dominated possession with Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar keen to get on the ball and display their talents. It was Mata who produced the breakthrough as he drove forward and was then on hand to receive a return pass from Ramires before prodding home via goalkeeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu's large frame.
In the face of increasing Chelsea pressure the visitors somehow kept it together. Then, following three successive corners, Cristian Tănase saw a shot blocked on the line and Vlad Chiricheş followed up to score.
Had Alexandru Bourceanu accepted a decent opportunity at the start of the second half, Chelsea would have been staring at the exit door and the Steaua captain had reason to rue his inaccuracy when Terry headed in Mata's free-kick.
The home crowd, outsung by the visiting fans early on, knew the force was with their side. Torres's goal recalled his prowess in Liverpool FC colours, taking Hazard's nudge and shifting his balance to his left before firing across the goalkeeper and into the far corner. His missed penalty with three minutes remaining blotted his copybook, however.
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