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Victory in vain for Rubin as Chelsea progress

Published: Thursday 11 April 2013, 20.05CET
FC Rubin Kazan 3-2 Chelsea FC (agg: 4-5)
Kurban Berdyev's men fought back to win on the night, but the Blues' first-leg advantage proved enough to take them through.
by Richard van Poortvliet
from Stadion Luzhniki

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Published: Thursday 11 April 2013, 20.05CET

Victory in vain for Rubin as Chelsea progress

FC Rubin Kazan 3-2 Chelsea FC (agg: 4-5)
Kurban Berdyev's men fought back to win on the night, but the Blues' first-leg advantage proved enough to take them through.

Chelsea FC are through to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals thanks to a 5-4 aggregate victory against FC Rubin Kazan, who twice came from behind to win an entertaining second leg in vain.

Fernando Torres got the Blues off to the perfect start with a sublime lob and, after Iván Marcano's equaliser, Victor Moses' second-half strike put them back on track to a seemingly comfortable win. That was before an excellent fightback from the home side, however, with goals from Gökdeniz Karadeniz and Bebras Natcho rattling Chelsea, who ultimately held on.

Needing to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit, Rubin almost enjoyed an ideal start, with only a superb John Terry block keeping out Roman Eremenko's fourth-minute effort. It proved a costly miss, as the hosts were made to pay within 60 seconds. Frank Lampard's long ball found Torres and, with Sergei Ryzhikov rushing out of his goal to deal with the danger, the Spanish international produced a sublime finish to loop the ball over the stranded keeper.

Rubin had plenty of possession but struggled to find a way past Chelsea's well-marshalled defence until six minutes into the second half, when Marcano rose highest to power a header past Petr Čech. Despite that glimmer of hope, the reigning UEFA Champions League champions effectively made the tie safe on 55 minutes after a flowing move ended with the impressive Moses sweeping the ball past the despairing Ryzhikov.

That put Chelsea 5-2 up overall, but Rubin reduced the deficit on 62 minutes as one of the smallest men on the pitch, Gökdeniz, exposed Chelsea's defensive frailties in the air. He lost Nathan Aké – making only his third appearance for the visitors – to connect with Cristian Ansaldi's inviting cross.

Natcho then scored from the penalty spot after Aleksandr Ryazantsev was bundled over by César Azpilicueta. The hosts now needed to score twice in 15 minutes, but, despite Vladimir Dyadyun and José Rondón forcing Čech to save, Rafael Benítez's side held on to book their place in the last four.

Last updated: 02/05/13 23.21CET

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