Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How We Won The UEFA Europa Cup 2012-2013

Competition format

Chelsea Says :
There are first meetings with Ukrainian and Danish champions Shakhtar and FC Nordsjælland for the Blues, though Italian champions Juventus were opponents in the first knockout round back in 2009.
On that occasion we were narrow winners at home before a 2-2 draw in Turin sent us through to the quarter-finals.
Shakhtar play at the impressive Donbass Arena, which was a key feature of Euro 2012, hosting England's games against France and Ukraine, as well as the quarter-final between Spain and France, and the semi that saw Spain sneak past Portugal on penalties. Chelsea club doctor Paco Biosca joined us from the Ukrainian club last summer.
Juventus return to European competition as Serie A winners, and were unbeaten last season. Since our last meeting in 2009, they have returned to their home, the Stadio Delle Alpi, which has been rebuilt with the running track removed, and renamed the Juventus Stadium. Its capacity is 41,000.
FC Nordsjælland are first-time Danish champions, and based just outside Copenhagen. Their stadium is a little over 10,000 capacity, and so they will play their home games at Parken in Copenhagen, home of the Danish national team. Their squad includes Andreas Laudrup,the nephew of former Chelsea winger Brian, and son of Swansea manager Michael.
Reacting to the draw, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard said: 'Shakhtar Donetsk are well organised, but we don't know much about them in turns of playing them before. Juventus we played in 2009 in the last 16 and we came out on top but since then they have new owners and have moved on so it will be a difficult tie. FC Nordsjaelland are an unknown quantity.'
The Story So Far.......
Group Stage Draw Took Place in Monaco on Thursday 30th. August 2012
Chelsea Were Drawn By Denis Law From Pot 1 into Group E By Steve McManeman
Group E
 Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Juventus (Italy)
NordJaelland (Denmark)

Full Group Draws Visit http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/draws/index.html

Wed. Sep. 19th. 2012
CL Matchday 1
Chelsea 2 v 2 Juventus (H)



Our defence of the Champions League trophy began in disappointing style as we threw away a two-goal lead, drawing 2-2 with Juventus on what was only the third occasion in which we'd failed to win our opening group game.
Everything was going according to plan when Oscar drove us in front, via the aid of a deflection, in the 30th minute, and two minutes later were looked to be heading for a comfortable victory when the youngster doubled our advantage with a sublime strike which gave Gianluigi Buffon no chance.
Juventus reduced the deficit five minutes later when Arturo Vidal fired home, and while the Blues had a legitimate penalty claim waved away after the break when Eden Hazard was tripped inside the penalty area, the visitors always looked dangerous.
The equaliser came nine minutes from time when the substitute Fabio Quagliarella raced on to Claudio Marchisio's pass to secure a point.
Attention now turns towards a Premier League clash at home to Stoke City on Saturday where we will be looking to get back to winning ways and maintain our place at the top of the league.
Team news
 Roberto Di Matteo made only one change to the Chelsea team which drew 0-0 at Loftus Road on Saturday, with Oscar being handed his first start for the club since joining in the summer, Ryan Bertrand the player making way. David Luiz partnered captain John Terry in central defence, while Fernando Torres, withdrawn against Queens Park Rangers, retained his place in the side as the lone striker, making his 50th appearance for the club. Juan Mata, who missed the weekend's game after being given some time off, returned to the squad, although the Spaniard had to be content with a place on the bench. Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, missed out after picking up a hamstring strain.
First half
It was a bright start from the Blues, with two corners forced inside the opening couple of minutes, and while the first was easily cleared, David Luiz went close from the second, although the defender couldn't get enough power behind his header to seriously trouble Buffon.
Juventus, though, unlike many Italian sides playing away from home, were happy to push men forward early on, and it required a smart David Luiz block to prevent Mirko Vucinic from slipping his strike partner Sebastian Giovinco through on goal.
The play flowed back and forth as both sides attempted to gain an early advantage, but it was the visitors who had the first real sight of goal, Marchisio racing on to a Leonardo Bonucci clearance in the 21st minute, only to be denied by the lightning quick reflexes of Petr Cech, who raced off his line to parry the midfielder's effort.
The Chelsea defence was breached again moments later as Stephan Lichtsteiner played in Vucinic, but with the goal at his mercy the Montenegro international somehow scuffed his effort into the side netting.
It was an opportunity the Italians were made to pay for on the half-hour mark as Chelsea took the lead. Oscar pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal, and as the youngster struck from distance, his effort took a wicked deflection off Bonucci and flew past the stranded Buffon.
Two minutes later, with the supporters still on their feet celebrating his first strike, Oscar doubled his tally for the night with one of the goals of the season so far, spinning on the edge of the box and bending an absolute peach of a strike into the top corner.
Di Matteo had opted to ease the 20-year-old into the side gradually over the course of the opening few weeks of the campaign, but in the space of a couple of minutes he had given the Stamford Bridge faithful a glimpse of his unquestionable abilities.
Five minutes later, however, the away side were back in the game courtesy of a powerful, low strike into the bottom corner by Vidal, a goal which, in truth, they will have felt their first half performance merited.
Buoyed by their sudden reprieve, Juventus sensed the panic in the Blues defence as the half drew to a close, and they were almost level with the last kick of the half, Andrea Pirlo's free-kick sailing inches past Cech's right-hand post.
Second half
Chelsea, unchanged from the first half, came out after the break eager to restore our two-goal advantage, and shortly after Ramires narrowly failed to connect with a Hazard cross, Buffon saved low down to his right from an impressive Branislav Ivanovic effort.
The veteran Italian goalkeeper was called into action again moments later when he did well to save a thumping Frank Lampard free-kick as we stepped up the pressure.
The referee, who had incensed the home supporters with a string of poor decisions in the opening 45 minutes, did little to enhance his standing with them when he denied the Blues what appeared to be a certain penalty as Hazard was brought down inside the box by Chiellini.
Juventus were growing into the game as the half wore on, and after Lampard lost possession just outside our own penalty area, David Luiz made a stunning last-gasp block to deny Marchisio as the defender looked to pull the trigger.
Sensing the visitors were beginning to take control of proceedings, Di Matteo made his first substitution of the night, replacing Ramires with Ryan Bertrand, a switch which saw Hazard move out to the right-hand side and Bertrand play ahead of Ashley Cole on the left.
Soon after it was Oscar making way, the Brazilian suffering after being caught by a late tackle minutes earlier, with Mata coming on to play in behind Torres.
The Spaniard's impact was almost instant, but after linking up well with Hazard his left-footed strike flew wide of Buffon's post, and from the subsequent attack Juventus were level.
Marchisio picked up possession midway inside the Chelsea half and was afforded far too much time to slide his pass into the path of the substitute Fabio Qualiarella, who took one touch before calmly rolling the ball through the legs of the advancing Cech, sending the travelling hordes behind the goal delirious.
As the clock ticked down it was Juventus firmly in the ascendancy, and Quagliarella almost turned the game completely on its head when he turned on the edge of the box and crashed a strike against the bar with what was the last attempt on goal.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Mikel Obi, Lampard; Ramires (Bertrand 69), Oscar (Mata 73), Hazard; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Romeu, Moses.
Scorers Oscar 30, 32
Ramires 58
Juventus (3-5-2): Buffon (c); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Vidal, Marcilio, Pirlo, Asamoah, Lichtsteiner (Isla 76); Vucinic (Matri 86), Giovinco (Quagliarella 74).
Unused substitutes: Storari, Lucio, Giacherrini, Marrone
Scorers Vidal 37, Quagliarella 81
Vidal 65
Referee Pedro Proenca (Portugal)

Tue. Oct. 2nd. 2012
CL Matchday 2 

Chelsea 4 v 0
FC Nordaelland (A)


SummaryIn the end, it was a comfortable three points, but the 4-0 scoreline was slightly harsh on the home side.
Juan Mata gave us the lead 12 minutes before half-time, finishing off a lovely move which involved both Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard.
After the break the home side began to threaten, and Petr Cech was called into action on a couple of occasions, with one save in particular, when he tipped a Joshua John strike on to the post, maintaining our lead.
A minute later we were 2-0 up when David Luiz scored a sublime free-kick, lifting his strike over the wall and into the back of the net with the keeper rooted firmly to the spot.
If the second goal had knocked the stuffing out of the home side, the third, two minutes later, put the game to bed, Mata scoring hi second of the night, pouncing on a loose ball to fire home as the Danes struggled to clear their lines.
With the three points in the bag, there was still time to put the seal on a fine night's work, with the honour falling to Ramires, who stabbed home from Oscar's cross.
Our first win of the Champions League campaign, and a first away win in the group stages since 2010, sees us head into a double header against Shakhtar Donetsk in good heart.
Team news
Roberto Di Matteo made three changes to the side which won 2-1 at Arsenal on Saturday. With John Terry starting on the bench, Gary Cahill came in to partner David Luiz in the centre of defence, while Lampard, who had failed to start our three previous matches, skippered the side after coming in for John Mikel Obi. The only other change saw Victor Moses make his European debut, coming in to play wide on the left at the expense of Eden Hazard who started on the bench.
First half
The Blues were gifted a chance inside the opening couple of minutes when a careless throw-in fell straight into the path of Oscar.
The Brazilian linked up well with both Fernando Torres and Moses before a teasing delivery had just a little too much pace on it for the Spaniard.
Chelsea came into the game as big favourites against the Champions League novices, and a minute later we were almost in front, Moses rising highest to meet an Oscar cross, but under pressure the young attacker saw his effort crash against the post.
It was an extremely positive start as we looked to exert a stranglehold on the game in the opening stages.
Soon after and another defensive lapse from the home side saw Torres through on goal. He could, and probably should, have shot as soon as he picked the ball up on the edge of the Nordsjaelland penalty area, but as he attempted to evade Jores Okore, the defender made the challenge and the chance went begging.
The hosts were allowing us far too much time and space early on, with one particular pass from Petr Cech to Juan Mata symptomatic of the manner in which the game was evolving.
Joshua John had the first attempt on goal for Kasper Hjulmand's men, showing a lovely piece of skill to pop the ball through the legs of Ramires before firing wide from distance.
An early Chelsea goal would undoubtedly have tested the resolve of the hosts, but an inability to take our chances in the first five minutes appeared to galvanise Nordsjaelland and it required a well-timed block from Ashley Cole to deny Mikkel Beckmann as they began to offer more of an attacking threat.
At the other end, meanwhile, Torres went close after producing a clever trick to go beyond Ivan Runje, with Jesper Hansen using his feet to block the striker's attempt.
The Blues took the lead just after the half-hour mark, profiting from another defensive mistake.
Torres pounced on a loose ball, driving at the defence before rolling it back into the path of the supporting Lampard. The stand-in captain showed tremendous vision to pick out Mata, allowing the Spaniard to calmly slot us into the lead, his third goal in successive games.
A minute before the break we should have doubled our advantage, Oscar splitting the Danes with a simple ball, but Torres, who looked destined to score, saw his strike palmed away by Hansen.
Second half
There were no changes to personnel at the break, and after Torres was again thwarted by Hansen a minute after the restart, John almost levelled things up for Nordsjaelland, cutting in from wide on the left and firing inches past Cech's right-hand upright.
Moses, in particular, was seeing more of the ball during the second spell; a fizzing cross after being released by a wonderful Lampard volley was cleared away, before the 21-year-old had a goal ruled out for offside.
With only one goal separating the two sides, Nordsjaelland were still very much in the game, and Nikolai Stokholm stung the palms of Cech from just outside the box as they looked to restore parity.
Moments later Beckmann was left unmarked on the edge of the penalty area, and but for his failure to connect with the ball as it dropped to him in a dangerous position, we could have been made to pay for some slack defending.
Eighteen minutes into the second half Di Matteo made his first substitution of the night, replacing Moses, who had worked tirelessly, with Hazard in what was a straight swap.
The warning signs were beginning to mount, and like at Arsenal at the weekend, we had Cech to thank for keeping us in front.
John, who had been the home side's biggest threat throughout, was allowed to roam, and as his curling effort looked set to nestle in the far top corner, the Blues 'keeper somehow managed to get a fingertip on it and divert it on to the post.
The game, however, was put out of the Danish side's reach shortly after when we doubled our advantage in some style.
Torres was awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal after being tugged back, and it was David Luiz who stepped up, bending a stunning strike over the wall and into the back of the net via the aid of a post.
With the travelling Chelsea hordes still revelling in the Brazilian's goal, the three points were secured two minutes later as Mata reacted quickest to a loose ball in the Nordsjaelland penalty area to score his second of the night.
The game was all but over, but there was still time for more, and it was Ramires who made it 4-0 in the 90th minute, timing his run perfectly to convert easily from an Oscar cross.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Lampard (c); Moses (Hazard 63), Oscar, Mata; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Terry, Bertrand, Romeu, Mikel Obi.
Scorers Mata 33, 80, David Luiz 78, Ramires 90

FC Nordsjaelland (4-2-3-1): Hansen; Okore, Runje, Mtiliga; Adu, Stokholm; Lorentzen, Nordstrand (Ticinovic 63), John; Beckmann (Christensen 73).
Unused substitutes: Villadsen, Christiansen, Gundelach, Laudrup, Petry.
Booked Runje 75
Referee Marijo Strahonja

Tue. Oct. 23rd 2012
CL Matchday 3 

Chelsea 1 v 2 Shakhtar Donetsk (A)


 An impressive Shakhtar Donetsk side inflicted our first Champions League defeat under Roberto Di Matteo, scoring early in each half.
Oscar pulled a goal back close to the end but there could little complaint about the result on a night when Petr Cech was by far the busier goalkeeper. Better Chelsea chances came in the second-half before the Oscar goal, Juan Mata and John Mikel Obi both clearing the crossbar, but the home team continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack and it will need a good performance to take points from them at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight's time.
The outlook would have looked dimmer had it not been for Juventus's 1-1 draw in Denmark tonight meaning the Italians have yet to win in the group and Chelsea only drop to second.

Team news
 Roberto Di Matteo freshened up the side with two personnel changes. In came the captain and vice-captain, Gary Cahill making way for John Terry and Frank Lampard back alongside John Mikel Obi with Ramires moving to the wide right position and Eden Hazard on the bench.
Shakhtar selected four Brazilians in an unchanged line-up from their previous Champions League outing. Willian and Alex Texeira flanked highly rated Armenian Henrik Mkhitaryan as the three players behind lone striker Luiz Adriano.

First half
 Results across the group in the first couple of round of matches meant Chelsea knew we needed something from this game if qualification for the knockout stages wasn't to become tricky. The last thing we needed was to give the Ukrainians an early boost but Shakhtar scored with their very first attack.
There was a throw-in from the left and an initial shot by Luiz Adriano that Terry was able to block, but the ball ran unkindly - latched upon inside the area by Teixeira who had a relatively simple task in rolling it into the net. There were less than three minutes gone.
Oscar combined with Torres and shot but it was too tame as the visitors tried to muster a quick response. Ramires did very well to dispossess Rat and Torres initially slipped the ball outside of one defender but there was a covering Shakhtar player who snuffed out the danger.
It was Chelsea enjoying more possession for a spell but then on 15 minutes Shakhtar sprung forward at speed, as they would do on several occasions later on. A ball was initially threaded through the middle to Mkhitaryan before Willian accelerated to the edge of the area and fired over. Space for the attack had been helped by an injury to Lampard whose 100th European game for Chelsea was a short one. He was on the turf and soon walked off to be replaced on 17 minutes by Hazard.
Oscar remained as the more central of the attacking midfielders and he was almost played through by Ramires but the keeper was quick enough out to deal with it. He then took a cross from Ivanovic in front of Torres and was pulled by Cole as he tried to release the ball quickly, at the expense of a booking for the Chelsea left-back.
The home side were finding a worrying amount of space when they attacked and Willian, who was seeing plenty of the ball shot again, this time Cech saving well within his capabilities.
On 24 minutes Hazard hit a first time pass to Oscar who momentarily looked to have played the ideal pass up to Torres, but again keeper Pyatov was quick enough to knock the ball out of the Spaniard's path. Shakhtar countered in a flash and it needed Terry with an admirable recovery and clearance to kill the attack. Mkhitaryan then shot with power but straight at Cech.
It was Chelsea's turn to attack and Mikel and Oscar exchanged passes and the Brazilian sprinted inside the Shakhtar area but couldn't find a blue shirt with his cross. Then just past the half hour he showed vision with a pass over the top to Torres who appeared to take a touch too strong as he ran onto it.
On 37 minutes, Cech was in action again, tipping over from Mkhitaryan after Cole had initially done well to impede the attack. The corner that followed proved difficult to clear. After another corner a minute later our keeper was at his best to keep the ball out when his compatriot and friend Tomas Hubschmanturned in goalwards from only a couple of yards out.
Chelsea possession in or around the Shakhtar box was becoming increasingly rare, Torres hooked a difficult cross at the keeper an exception. It had been hard to see where a Chelsea goal would come from in that opening 45 minutes.
Second half
 Four minutes after the restart, Chelsea did look incisive in the attack, Hazard pushing forward and opting not use Cole's lung-bursting run inside him, instead picking out Mata in the middle who unfortunately shot over.
We were looking beginning to look better than the first half which made the mistakes that led to Shakhtar's second goal all the more infuriating. Mikel only just held onto possession in a tight spot inside the Chelsea half and when Ramires knocked the ball deeper to Hazard, he was dispossessed. The Blues defence was outnumbered and Luiz Adriano found Fernandinho in space to score with a shot across Cech. There were 51 minutes played.
Ramires tried to get a recovery going with a 25-yard attempt that tested Pyatov as much as any so far, and one of Mata's brighter moments led to a cross that Torres just failed to reach when closely marked by two defenders.
Mata then spotted Torres making a run down the inside right corridor but the out-of-sorts centre-forward crossed into the keeper's hands.
Torres was successful in flicking on Mata's 67th minute corner but Mikel, who spun on to it couldn't keep a very difficult volley down.
It had been a while since Shakhtar had pressured the Chelsea goal and when they did once more, the well-placed Fernandinho shot wide.
Sturridge replaced Torres with 69 minutes played but the next two shots were from Mkhitaryan, both saved by Cech. Then Luiz Adriano's header across goal bounced odd Hubschman and only just wide of the post.
All Chelsea's attacks were through Hazard but on three occasions he didn't have answer to how to beat Pyatov. David Luiz was booked for a foul on Willian, Olexandr Kucher having earlier been cautioned for the home side. Hubschman followed suit for a muscular challenge on Ramires.
Hope came with three minutes of normal time left on the clock, Ivanovic the creator with a powerful drive into the box and pull-back that Oscar turned in from close-range.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, JT (c) Cole; Mikel, Lampard (Hazard); Ramires, Oscar, Mata; Torres (Sturridge 69).
Unused subs Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu..
Scorer Oscar 87.
Booked Cole 21, David Luiz 79.
Shakhtar (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna (c), Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hübschman; Teixeira (Ilsinho 81), Mkhitaryan, Willian (Douglas Costa 87); Luiz Adriano.
Unused subs Kanibolotskiy, Kryvstov, Stepanenko, Gai, Eduardo.
Scorers Teixeira 2, Fernandinho 51.
Booked Kucher 66, Hubschman 85.
Referee Damir Skomina from Slovenia.
Crowd ?

Wed. Nov. 7th. 2012
CL Matchday 4 

Chelsea 3 v 2 Shakhtar Donetski 


SummaryA stunning last-gasp header by substitute Victor Moses secured a much-needed 3-2 win which leaves us tied at the top of Group E with our beaten opponents.
Fernando Torres had given us the lead inside the opening five minutes, but only three minutes later the highly-coveted Willian equalised for the visitors when he converted a Fernandinho cross.
Shakhtar, in truth, had been the better team for the majority of the first half, but it was the Blues who went in ahead at the break thanks to a stunning Oscar lob six minutes before half time.
All the hard work, however, was undone two minutes after the restart when Willian scored an almost identical goal to his first one to draw Shakhtar level once more.
As the Blues huffed and puffed with time running out, it looked as though the game was slipping away, but with virtually the last action of the match, Mata swung in a corner from the right, and Moses, the smallest player on the pitch, rose highest to head into the top corner and seal a famous win, sending the home supporters delirious.
Drama is seldom in short supply on European nights at the Bridge, and while we will now need to secure another big result away in Juventus in a fortnight's time, our immediate attention turns towards a massive test in the Premier League on Sunday when we welcome Liverpool to west London.
Team newsThe big news with regards to team selection was that John Terry, available again after completing a four-game domestic ban, started on the bench, with David Luiz, who missed the weekend draw at Swansea with an ankle problem, coming back into the side to partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence. Branislav Ivanovic reverted to a more familiar right-back role, while Cesar Azpilicueta dropped down to the bench. With Ashley Cole unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Ryan Bertrand started his first Champions League game since the final in Munich last May. In the other changes from Saturday, Ramires came in at the expense of Oriol Romeu to play alongside John Mikel Obi in midfield, while goalscorer Victor Moses made way for the returning Juan Mata. Petr Cech once again captained the side in the absence of both Terry and Frank Lampard.
First halfRoberto Di Matteo had spoken in the pre-match press conference about the importance of starting the game well, and the players appeared to have heeded his words when we took the lead inside the opening five minutes.
Oscar showed a deft piece of skill wide on the right to evade his marker, and as he attempted to pick out Fernando Torres with his cross, Andriy Pyatov, the Shakhtar goalkeeper, was allowed to gather.
After rolling the ball out to Yaroslav Rakitskiy, the left-back, under pressure from Torres, played it straight back to the 'keeper, and as he hesitated in clearing, the Spaniard had made up enough ground to charge down his kick and break the deadlock.
It was the perfect start, and the goal appeared to spark Torres into life as almost from the restart he was unfortunate not to double our advantage, effortlessly skipping beyond Rakitskiy before firing at Pyatov.
The lead, however, was to last only three minutes, as with the subsequent attack Shakhtar restored parity.
Fernandinho was allowed to roam unchallenged into the Chelsea penalty area and as his cross from the right fell at the feet of Willian, the Brazilian, so instrumental in Ukraine a fortnight ago, drove his strike past Cech.
The visitors began to take control following the equaliser and almost went in front when Henrik Mkhitaryan fired narrowly wide after pouncing on a Luiz Adriano knock-down, and they were asking more than enough questions to give Di Matteo food for thought, particularly down the right-hand side.
Torres, meanwhile, went close again for the Blues, but rather than pick out the unmarked Eden Hazard he opted to shoot from the tightest of angles and could only screw his strike into the side-netting.
With so much at stake, it was perhaps unsurprising that there was a nervy atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge, and the awat side's ability to retain the ball so well merely added to the sense of frustration.
Just after the half-hour mark, Alex Texeira fizzed a strike inches past Cech's right-hand upright after a flowing move involving both Fernandinho and Luiz Adriano as Shakhtar sensed an opening, while at the other end clear-cut opportunities were proving elusive.
Six minutes before the break, though, we were back in front, albeit against the run of play.
As yet another Shakhtar attack broke down, Mata, who had been a virtual spectator throughout the first half, attempted to pick out the advancing Ivanovic, but as Pyatov raced off his line to head clear, the ball fell kindly to Oscar 35 yards from goal, and the 21-year-old took one touch before crashing his strike straight back over the keeper's head and into an empty net.
It was the youngster's fourth goal in this season's competition thus far, most of which had been of the spectacular variety, and it had come just at the right time.
Second halfIf the first half had started in the best possible fashion, the second was the complete opposite, as barely two minutes in Shakhtar equalised for the second time on the night.
The ball was worked out to the right-hand side far too easily, and Darijo Srna had plenty of time to pick out Willian who doubled his tally for the evening.
It really was a cheap goal to concede, particularly at such a crucial time, and it allowed Shakhtar to settle comfortably back into their stride.
Moments later our disappointment was almost compounded when Razvan Rat smashed an effort past Cech from distance, only to be denied by the post.
As an attacking unit, we were struggling to get going, with only Eden Hazard looking capable of producing the spark we so desperately needed.
Midway through the second half it looked as though we had restored our lead when Mikel Obi - the most unlikely goalscorer on the pitch - arrived at the far post to head home from a Mata free-kick, but the linesman's flag was raised, a decision which was proved to be the correct one from the subsequent replays.
With the clock ticking down we began to assert ourselves in the final third, giving the Shakhtar defence more to think about.
With 17 minutes left to play Hazard picked up the ball deep inside the opposing half and fed a delightful pass into the path of the advancing Ramires, but as the Brazilian prepared to pull the trigger he was sent crashing inside the box as the home supporters appealed for a penalty.
It looked a simple decision for the Spanish referee, but he waved the shouts away to the utter bewilderment of Di Matteo and Eddie Newton in the Chelsea dugout, along with almost 40,000 spectators inside the stadium.
Mikel again went close when he volleyed narrowly wide after a Mata corner had been headed into his path, while soon after Di Matteo made his first substitution of the night, replacing the tireless Oscar with Victor Moses in a bid to inject some pace in wide areas.
The Blues forced a succession of corners in the final few minutes, realising the importance of securing all three points, but while Mata's deliveries were generally decent, the likes of Cahill and Ivanovic were unable to get the necessary touch.
However, in the third minute of stoppage time, another stunning Champions League night at Stamford Bridge was complete when substitute Moses rose highest in the box to head home from a Mata corner and steal the win at the death.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Bertrand; Mikel Obi, Ramires; Mata, Oscar (Moses 80), Hazard; Torres (Sturridge 88).
Unused subs: Turnbull, Terry, Azpilicueta, Romeu, Marin.
Scorers Torres 5, Oscar 39, Moses 90+3
David Luiz 88
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna (c), Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hubschman; Teixeira (Ilsinho 77), Mkhitaryan, Willian; Luiz Adriano.
Unused subs: Kanibolotskiy, Shevchuk, Chygrynskiy, Stepanenko, Douglas Costa, Eduardo.
Scorers Willian 8, 47
Teixeira 56
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain

Tue. Nov. 20th. 2012
CL Matchday 5 

Chelsea 0 v 3 Juventus (A)


Summary The Blues will now need to keep one eye firmly on the result in Donetsk when we take on Nordsjaelland in the final group game, having been well beaten in Italy.
The manner of the first two Juventus goals may have been a little unfortunate, Petr Cech wrong-footed by a deflection in each half, but once Eden Hazard had not taken an early chance when the game was scoreless, Chelsea never truly looked like scoring again.
The Italian champions had been denied by a very good Cech save early on and although they created few clear-cut chances, they were in control for large parts of the match and finished it off with a third goal just before the final whistle.
Team news Fernando Torres was left out and with Daniel Sturridge having strained a hamstring in training the night before, Eden Hazard was handed the task of leading the attack.
Roberto Di Matteo sprung another surprise by naming Cesar Azpilicueta on the right of midfield, playing in front of the returning Branislav Ivanovic. Ashley Cole was also back, to play the 100th European game of his career, 99 of them in the Champions League. Juan Mata and Oscar, who started on the bench for the West Brom game were both back in the starting line-up.
Juventus were able field Mirko Vucinic up front after an illness scare and paired him with Fabio Quagliarella who came off the bench to score at the Bridge.
First halfOn what was always likely to be a night when the Blues' defensive resolve would be tested, there was concern as early as the second minute when an Ivanovic slip allowed Asamoah to put a cross in which Cole initially kicked skywards but Cech eventually caught. Then a couple of minutes later came a genuine scare when a ball was chipped over to the left of our six-yard box and Lichtensteiner met it, only for Cech to push it onto the post. A fine piece of goalkeeping at such an early stage in the game.
Chelsea were under pressure but on eight minutes it was our turn to go very close to scoring. It was Oscar who broke shackles, embarking on a fine run through the middle and finding his way past two Juventus men before drawing the last defender and playing the perfect pass out to Hazard. The Belgian's shot was on target but Buffon, as he has done on so many occasions, came to the Italians rescue. He diverted the ball into the sidenetting with his knee. Chelsea wouldn't come as close to scoring again in the opening period.
Juventus came back strongly and forced three corners in quick succession, the third leading to a Marchisio shot that was heading just inside the post until Cech saved one-handed.
The Serie A side kept peppering the Chelsea goal with shots but nothing to test Cech on this form. Midway through the half, Ivanovic was judged to have fouled Vidal just outside the penalty area, a touch harshly, but Pirlo's free-kick disappointed the Juventus tifosi in the Curva Sud behind the goal. Cech again saved.
Chelsea did mount an attack just before the half-hour, aided by good hold-up play from Hazard and then a mistake from PIrlo but Ramires's shot was always bending high and wide.
There was a tremendous tackle from Cole soon after to dispossess the rapid Quagiarella who looked to be escaping David Luiz and heading for goal, before Hazard twisted onto his right foot inside the Juve area but had a shot charged down.
The deadlock was finally broken on 37 minutes and when it came it was unlucky for Chelsea, Quagliarella's speculative shot taking deflection before beating Cech. It needed something like that to beat our keeper in this form.
Suddenly there was much happening at both ends. Cole cleared off the Chelsea line after Juventus had bundled the goalwards inside a crowded six-yard box, and then we countered, only for Mata to make a poor connection as he stretched to meet Azpilicueta's cross.
Five minutes before the break Bonucci became the game's first booked player for sticking out a leg to impede Hazard just inside the Juve half.
Further Chelsea efforts to score were more in hope than expectation and the home side took a lead into the dressing room they deserved on balance of play, even if their own chances had been infrequent.
Second halfJuventus were convinced they should have had a penalty four minutes into the half when an incisive move ended with Vucinic turning inside Cahill but the ref decided an arm briefly across the centre-forward's stomach was not enough for a foul.
The Blues went straight up the other end and Mata was chopped down inside the 'D' on the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately when he picked himself up and took the free-kick, he could do no more than plant it into the wall.
Cech was again extended on 57 minutes to push a 20-yard shot wide and then he did well to keep Vucinic out wide after Juve had beaten the offside flag.
Azpilicueta had done a good job of harassing the Juventus left-flank but with Chelsea in desperate need of some scoring chances, Di Matteo decided on 59 minutes it was time to replace him with Victor Moses.
Before the Nigerian could have any impact on the game however, Juventus made it 2-0. Having worked space on our right, Asamoah was able to pick out Vidal on the edge of the area. Cech may well have dealt with the shot but this time Ramires was the unlucky player deflecting it in.
It was hard to see how we were going to come back from this, a point emphasised when Buffon claimed a corner in commanding fashion.
Torres was introduced for the final 20 minutes, Mikel the man taken off and Oscar asked to play deeper.
Vucinic had the chance to totally kill the game but missed a sitter.
Moses was then found inside the Juve penalty area by Hazard and managed to get a shot in but Barzaghi was in position to block. David Luiz then tried from distance but cleared the bar. Ramires also picked up a booking.
There were just 10 minutes left to somehow find two goals. Torres showed vision to find Oscar in space but the chance to shoot disappeared as the Brazilian got his feet tangled, but the final punch was landed by Juve substitute Giovinco. He ran through onside after an counter-attack cut us open and with Cech doing all he could do in charging out of his goal, the ball was slipped past him to make it 3-0.
We now need to win our final game and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus when the Italians travel to Ukraine.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Mikel (Torres 70); Azpilicueta (Moses 59), Oscar, Mata; Hazard.
Unused subs Turnbull, Bertrand, Romeu, Marin, Piazon.
Booked Ramires 75.
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon (c); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 66), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Quagliarella (Pogba 88), Vucinic (Giovinco 82).
Unused subs Storari, Pepe, Giaccherini, Matri.Scorers Quagliarella 37. Vidal 60, Giovinco 90.
Booked Bonucci 40, Marchisio 84.
Referee Cüneyt Çakır from Turkey.

Wed. Dec. 5th. 2012
CL Matchday 6 
Chelsea 6 v 1 FC Nordsjælland (H)


SummaryA record Champions League victory, complete with some sparkling football, was not enough to see us through to this competition's knockout stages.
The fact Juventus won at Shakhtar Donetsk means we finish third in Group E, and will now take part in the reformatted Europa League for the first time.
It renders an impressive display at Stamford Bridge relatively meaningless, though we did for the first time score six in a Champions League fixture, with goals coming from a David Luiz penalty after both sides had already missed from the spot, two from Fernando Torres, who had not scored in a month, and one apiece from Gary Cahill (pictured below), Juan Mata and Oscar, following four goals in 20 second-half minutes after Nordsjaelland had pulled one back immediately from the kick-off.
Chelsea v Nordsjaelland
The result brings a first win for Rafael Benitez, but the night will be remembered as the one the previous season's Champions League winners bowed out for the first time at the group stage.
Team news
David Luiz, suspended for the weekend defeat at West Ham, returned to central defence alongside Cahill, as Branislav Ivanovic switched to right-back.
That meant no place for Cesar Azpilicueta, who was on the bench, while Oriol Romeu replaced John Mikel Obi in midfield. The front four was unchanged, with Victor Moses keeping his place ahead of Oscar.
Ashley Cole was playing the 100th Champions League game of his career.
First halfAs much as we needed the result in Donetsk to go our way, there was a job to be done at home too. Failure to qualify for the knockout stages would be one thing, but failure to beat the group's weakest side at the Bridge quite another.
The early stages were interrupted with an injury to Nordsjaelland's Ivan Runje, but when it resumed Chelsea looked dangerous, first when Moses's powerful volley was saved at the near post by the visiting keper Jesper Hansen, and then after Fernando Torres had burst into the box and fired hard and low.
Hansen then saved from David Luiz before the defender was forced to divert the ball behind at the other end, only for the Blues to break as Torres brought the ball forward and played in Juan Mata, whose square ball was diverted goalwards by Eden Hazard, the goalkeeper once again able to save.
It was certainly entertaining as Chelsea sought to bring some warmth to a bitterly cold London evening.
Romeu, Hazard and Mata all combined and almost played in Torres, before Moses squared across goal and Nordsjaelland captain Nicolai Stokholm diverted over via his own crossbar.
The away side were riding their luck, and they were given a huge boost on the half-hour when Cahill was adjudged to have handled inside the area. There was little the defender could do, though his arm was raised, yet repays showed he had been outside the penalty area.
Stokholm stepped up, and sent the kick to Petr Cech's right, but not many spot kicks seem to beat our number one these days, and he pushed it away to safety.
Chelsea v Nordsjaelland
Three minutes later and we had a penalty of our own, Cahill winning it this time as sub Mikkel Beckmann was penalised for handball. Hazard claimed the ball, and confidently placed it low to the keeper's left, but Hansen guessed right and was able to save.
Staggeringly, five minutes later we were awarded another penalty as Beckmann blocked Mata's drive with his hand, and this time David Luiz took responsibility, and fired high into the top corner of the net.
For all the showmanship and enterprising play of the first half, it had taken a penalty to put us ahead.
The wait for a second would not be a long one, coming in first-half injury time as Moses threaded Torres through, and the striker tapped into an empty net after Hansen had saved his initial effort.
Chelsea looked well in control, but Shakhtar and Juventus were still level out in Ukraine.
Second halfNobody in west London would have predicted what happened at the start of the second period, as within 20 seconds Nordsjaelland struck back, left-winger Joshua John latching on to Kasper Lorentzen's lofted pass to clip over Cech and into the net.
The goalkeeper will be frustrated at losing his clean sheet but concern for the result did not last long, as Cahill leapt high to head an inswinging Mata free-kick into the corner of the net just moments later, restoring the two-goal lead.
The goals kept coming.
Chelsea v Nordsjaelland
The lead became three five minutes later, as Hazard progressed down the left, as he had done numerous times already, and got to the bye-line, squaring for Torres to prod home a fourth of the night, and a second for himself.
Then Ramires won possession as Nordsjaelland tried to break, and with the Danes low on numbers at the back, the Brazilian fed Mata who drove forward, exchanged passes with Hazard and shot, seeing his first effort hit Hansen's leg before firing in the rebound. If the Blues were going out, we were going to do so with a show.
Mata was gifted possession midway inside the away side's half, and he was able to instinctively pick out substitute Oscar's run, and the Brazilian made no mistake as he side-footed past the keeper and into the bottom corner. Celebrations, however, were subdued, with the news having filtered through that Juventus had taken the lead in Donetsk.
Chelsea v Nordsjaelland
Mata was brought off to rapturous applause after another night of playmaking perfection, and the change saw Paulo Ferreira introduced, with perhaps more interestingly David Luiz pushed forward into midfield alongside Romeu, who had been faultless all evening.
Torres might have had a penalty after being bundled over inside the area while Oscar's drive was tipped over by Hansen and David Luiz looped a free-kick just too high as Chelsea looked for more. Already we had scored a club record number of Champions League goals in one night.
Torres and Mata combined with a rabona and a back flick to work Hansen some more, but that was the end of the excitement, and a fine display was met with applause, but an overall feeling of disappointment at the final whistle.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cahill, Cole (Bertrand 59); Romeu, Ramires (Oscar 64); Hazard, Mata (Ferreira 73), Moses; Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Marin.
Goals David Luiz (pen) 37, Torres 45+1, 55, Cahill 50, Mata 62, Oscar 70
Booked David Luiz
Nordsjaelland (4-4-2): Hansen; Ticinovic (Issah 64), Parkhurst, Runje (Beckmann 9), Mtiliga; Stockholm (c)Adu, Christiansen (Kildentoft 60); Gundelach, Lorentzen, John;
Unused subs Jensen, Maxso, Laudrup, Lindberg.
Goal John 46
Booked Parkhurst,Mtiliga
Referee Bas Nijhuis from Holland
Attendance 40,084

UEFA Champions League Table Group E                                          

   Final Table

Team P GD Pts

Juventus 6     8 12

Shakhtar Donetsk 6   4 10

Chelsea 6   6 10

Nordsjaelland 6-18  1
Europa Cup 
Rounds of 32 & 16

The draw for the round of 32 included the top two teams from each of the 12 groups along with the eight sides transferring from the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in their pools.
Draw 2 pm. CET, 20 December, Nyon
The draw for the round of 32 includes the top two teams from each of the 12 groups along with the eight sides transferring from the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in their pools.
The UEFA Europa League group winners are all seeded, along with the four UEFA Champions League qualifiers with the best record in their section. The other four sides transferring from the elite competition and the UEFA Europa League group runners-up are in the unseeded pot and are drawn first, meaning they are drawn to play the first-leg matches at home. They cannot be paired with either the winners from their section or clubs from the same association.
The draw for the round of 16, which will be played on 7 and 14 March, follows and there are no seeded teams. The 16 balls containing slips of paper for 'Winners of match 1' to 'Winners of match 16' are placed in one bowl and shuffled. The first team drawn are to play their first match at home against the second team drawn and the same procedure is then repeated for the other matches. There are no restrictions on the round of 16 draw.

Round of 32 1st. Leg Sparta PrahaSparta Praha 0 v 1 ChelseaChelsea

Sparta v Chelsea

Thursday 4th. April
ChelseaChelsea 3 v 1 Rubin Kazan (H) 1st. leg
Fernando Torres


Summary Fernando Torres scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season with Victor Moses netting his seventh to give the Blues a lead to take to Russia next week.
The Spaniard opened the scoring, scrambling the ball in from close range and headed in the third goal in the second half after a good move. Moses had made it 2-0 in the opening period with the goal of the night but Rubin Kazan pulled one back from the penalty spot before the interval. For most of the game though, it had been a solid Chelsea defence with the Blues on top across the park.
Team news There were six changes to the side that began the win over Man United with John Terry and Ryan Bertrand coming into defence, Frank Lampard back in midfield and Fernando Torres in attack with Demba Ba cup-tied.
Yossi Benayoun began wide of Juan Mata with Victor Moses another player returning to the starting line-up on the other flank. David Luiz played the 50th European game of his career.
Rubin Kazan changed their shape from their last-round win over Levante, from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-1-1 -Roman Eremenko supporting centre-forward Vladmir Dyadyun.

First half
The message had been clear before the game, Chelsea wanted goals and a good lead to take into a never-easy second leg in Moscow.

Benayoun, in his start since the first leg away in Bucharest last round, was the first to show enterprise but his dribble into the box came to a halt before any end product.

Mata showed similar good control on 10 minutes to get through a crowd inside the area but when he squared, a flick off a Rubin shin diverted the ball from danger. Torres turned his marker soon after as he chested a Lampard pass from halfway but bobbled a shot wide.
The quick long pass up front appeared to be a clear tactic tonight, testing the Rubin central defence regularly, and 15 minutes Torres made them pay.
David Luiz sent the missile forward and although Torres's initial control left him, the ball and the defender together on the floor, it was the Spaniard who reacted quicker to stab the ball home from just a couple of yards out.
Chelsea v Rubin
Cech made his first save, from a speculative strike from Natcho, before Chelsea attacked again and this time it was Bertrand who from his own half snaked his way through. It was a thrilling run but the left-back's angled shot was cleared inside the six-yard area.
The game was steadily becoming one of constant Chelsea pressure and it was a sustained attack just past the half-hour mark that led to Moses doubling the lead.
The Russians had more than one chance to clear properly but they failed to do so. Azpilicueta 's cross led to a blocked Torres shot that spun up to Moses. His bouncing header was clawed wide by the keeper but a Torres cross was deflected back into Moses's path on the edge if the area. He fired into the top corner in style.
Chelsea v Rubin
Rubin pulled a goal back five minutes before half-time and given the balance of the game at that stage, from possibly the only route available to them. Ansaldi fired the ball in the direction of the goal and it hit the arm of Terry which was pretty much down by his side. That was enough for the referee to point to the spot and book our skipper. Natcho converted the penalty.
The 30 or so Rubin Kazan fans present were very pleased with that away strike, as they would have been with the single-goal deficit at half-time given Chelsea's superiority.
Second halfRubin Kazan swapped centre-forwards for the restart - the tall Venezuelan Jose Rondon replacing Dyadyun.

With four minutes of the half gone, it needed a full-stretch save from the keeper to keep out Moses's shot, a quick switch of play having created space. Moses touched the ball into the Chelsea topscorer's path after a David Luiz cross. The ball ran loose after the save but it was cleared before Terry could snap it up.
There was a rare moment when Cech went for but didn't claim a corner which served to emphasise the need for more goals.
Just before the hour Torres hit a good cross to the far post which won a corner. Mata was not far from serving that up perfectly for Terry but the header cleared the bar.
The next chance worryingly was Rubin's and had Rondon not hit it straight at Cech then we would have been in trouble. Benitez brought on Hazard for Moses soon after.
The reassuring third goal came from a swift counter-attack down the left. Benayoun released Torres and although the striker was initially held up by a group of defenders, he involved Lampard in the move who in turn found Mata peeling away to the flank. The cross was floated in and Torres made no mistake with his head. There were 69 minutes played.
Chelsea v Rubin
Benayoun was booked for sliding in on Ansaldi moments before the second Chelsea substitution. It was time for Mata to rest, Oscar coming on. Marin then followed for Benayoun who came off to good applause. It had been his third start of the season.

The final shot was a long-range dig from Ramires which was a worthy effort, the Brazilian having just been fouled to earn Orbiaz a booking. Marin also received a late yellow card.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Terry (c), Bertrand; Ramires, Lampard; Moses (Hazard 65), Mata (Oscar 77), Benayoun (Marin 82); Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Mikel.
Scorers Torres 16, 69, Moses 32.
Terry 40, Benayoun 77, Marin 90+2.

Rubin Kazan
(4-4-1-1): Ryzhikov; Kaleshin, Sharonov (c), Navas, Ansaldi; Kuzmin (Kasaev 82), Orbaiz, Natcho, Karadeniz; Eremenko; Dyadyun (Rondón h-t).
Unused subs: Arlauskis, Marcano, Ryazantsev, Kislyak, Tore.
Scorer Natcho 41 pen.
Booked Orbaiz 86.
Referee Gianluca Rocchi from Italy.

Thursday 11th. April
ChelseaChelsea 2 v 3 Rubin Kazan (A) 2nd. leg
 Fernando Torres


Chelsea are into the Europa League semi-finals despite being narrowly beaten in Russia.
An early goal should have made things comfortable, but a second-half fight back from Rubin made for a harder night's work than many would have predicted when Fernando Torres put us in front after four minutes.
An early scare was quickly forgotten once the Spaniard lifted us into the lead, seemingly putting us out of reach of our hosts, who took until the last minute of the first half to really stretch Petr Cech, who was forced to save well from Rubin captain Gokdeniz Karadeniz.
Ivan Marcano then headed level five minutes into the second half, only for Victor Moses to quickly restore our three-goal aggregate cushion. That should have been that but Karadeniz was then allowed a free header to level, before Bebras Natcho converted a penalty after a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta inside the area.
It made for a potentially nervy final 15 minutes, but Cech was called into action only once, and we take our place in the last four, two games away from a trip to Amsterdam for May's final.
Team news
The major headline in Rafael Benitez's selection was the decision to start Nathan Ake in deep midfield alongside Frank Lampard, meaning a European debut for the 18-year-old. He had been touted as a potential stand-in left-back with both Ryan Bertrand and Ashley Cole missing, but that role was given to the ever dependable Paulo Ferreira, who had featured just five times previously this season, the last time in February. This was the sixth competition he had played in this season.
John Terry started his 100thEuropean game for the Blues, while in making his 421st appearance for the club, Cech drew level with Steve Clarke as our joint-seventh highest appearance maker of all time.
Torres, impressive at the weekend against Sunderland, came in for the cup-tied Demba Ba in attack, with support coming from Ramires on the right, Yossi Benayoun and Moses. Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar were all among the substitutes.
First half
An eerie quiet fell over the Luzhniki Stadium just before kick-off, the few thousand supporters struggling to make themselves heard in an arena capable of holding many times more the number inside for this game.
The home fans, you consider, might have burst to life had Cesar Azpilicueta made a vital block inside the area from Roman Eremenko's shot goalbound shot after just three minutes, but 60 seconds later they were silenced by Torres.
Lampard sent a long ball over the top of the Rubin defence and goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov committed himself to getting there first, but did not allow for the synthetic surface slowing the ball's progress, and Torres, quicker over 20 yards than his opponents, arrived first to lift it up and into the empty net from around 30 yards.
Fernando Torres after scoring against Rubin
It was a major blow for the tie, cancelling out Rubin's away goal and gifting the Blues a three-goal cushion that the Russian side rarely looked like overturning in a stale first half.
Moses brought a save from Ryzhikov while Natcho shot wide and Eremenko worked Cech low to his left for the hosts, but excitement was at a premium.
John Terry in action against Rubin
Just before the break came Rubin's best opportunity, a floated ball into space behind the defence latched upon by Karadeniz, but Cech showed why he is among the best around with a fine outstretched save to his right. Chelsea had one foot in the last four.
Second half
Five minutes after the restart, the hosts gave themselves a lifeline when Pablo Orbaiz crossed from the right and defender Marcano rose above Ramires to head home. It was a goal spookily reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo's effort five years earlier in the Champions League final.
Chelsea's next attack saw us restore the lead on the night. Lampard supplied a pass to Moses on the edge of the area, and the Nigerian exchanged passes with Ramires before guiding the ball past Ryzhikov into the far corner to make it 2-1 on the night. Rubin now needed four, with the Blues boasting an extra away goal.
Victor Moses scores against Rubin
John Mikel Obi replaced Ramires to add an extra layer of steel, and give the Brazilian a rest, but Rubin quickly equalised once more, Karadeniz, the smallest player on the pitch, rising highest in the area to head home a left-wing cross, with Cech unable to beat it out despite getting hands to it.
Rubin score against Chelsea
Marcano then headed against the outside of the post as the home side finally applied some sustained pressure, and they were rewarded with a penalty when Azpilicueta was adjudged to have bundled over substitute Aleksandr Ryazantsev in the box. Natcho coolly despatched the kick into the top corner.
Jose Rondon then headed straight at Cech with 10 minutes to go. A goal then would have given Chelsea real trouble, but the striker's failure to convert signalled the beginning of the end for Rubin, and they created little else in the remaining time, Chelsea sub Oscar having the game's final opportunity with a curling effort comfortably saved by Ryzhikov.
Narrowly beaten on the night, Chelsea progress to the semi-finals regardless. The draw is on Friday morning.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry (c), David Luiz, Ferreira; Ake; Benayoun (Oscar 76), Lampard (Ivanovic 90), Ramires (Mikel 59), Moses; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Mata, Marin, Hazard.
Goals Torres 4, Moses 55
Booked Oscar 90
Rubin Kazan (4-2-3-1): Ryzhikov; Kuzmin (Kaleshin h-t), Marcano, Navas, Ansaldi; Natcho, Orbaiz (Dyadyun 65); Karadeniz (c), Eremenko, Kasaev (Ryazantsev 71); Rondon.
Unused substitutes: Arlauskis, Kislyak, Tore, Sharonov.
Goals Marcano 50, Karadeniz 62, Natcho 74 pen
Marcano 86
Crowd Referee Firat Aydinus from Turkey
Thursday 25th. April
Europa League Semi Final 1st. Leg
Basle v Chelsea
Basel v Chelsea


Summary We take a lead into next week's semi-final second leg thanks to David Luiz finding the net with the last kick of the game in Switzerland.
Victor Moses had given the visitors the lead early in the game and it was an advantage we held into the final five minutes. Then Basel were awarded and scored a penalty, but the Blues deserve great credit for not settling for what would have been a healthy result at that stage. We had other chances for a late winner before the Brazilian scored our second.
The home team had looked capable of goals during the game, Chelsea even more so, and both sides hit woodwork early in the second half. It should be a cracking deciding 90 minutes back in London.
Team news Ashley Cole played his first game since 1 April having recovered from a hamstring injury and John Terry returned to the central defence to partner Branislav Ivanovic.
Frank Lampard was back in midfield alongside David Luiz. Ramires on this occasion played wide on right, flanking Eden Hazard with Victor Moses on the left. Fernando Torres spearheaded the attack.
Basel named the same side that had begun their quarter-final second against Tottenham.

First halfUrged on by a vocal support, the early pressure was from the home side, with Cech sent back-peddling as one over-hit cross landed on the roof of his net.
There were signs of nerves in the Swiss side however, playing in their first European semi-final, with misplaced passes in dangerous regions. Hazard showed signs of being able to give their defence problems, and David Luiz almost set something up for Torres after one particularly bad pass by the Basel.
Basel v Chelsea
On 11 minutes Chelsea sprang into life properly when a quick combination down the right by Hazard and Azpilicueta gave Lampard the chance to volley the full-back's cross at the near post. Yann Sommer in the Basel goal did well to push the ball wide for a corner. It was only a temporary reprieve.
Lampard sent the ball over into the mix where Ivanovic appeared to get the first touch. As it dropped down, Moses was able to divert it in from a yard or two out. It was his fifth European goal this season.
Basel v Chelsea
Now the Basel temperament was under examination and they responded to conceding that early away goal with some purpose. A free-kick save by Cech from Fabian Schar was made all the better by the fact it took a slight deflection off the Chelsea player charging it down. Terry rose high to head clear Basel's third corner of the game midway through the half.
It was down Basel's right that they looked the sharpest, and some nippy passing there inside our penalty area ended with Schar hitting the outside of the post from an acute with Cech in place and covering the net.
On the half-hour, Torres was released in a wide position. He cut back inside and shot but Basel had enough defenders back for an adequate block to be in place. Our number nine tired his luck from 25 yards out soon after but Sommer was looking sure-handed so far, having claimed a couple of corners well.
He was called upon to dive full-length to prevent Ramires making it 2-0 on 35 minutes. Moses had shown Basel a clean pair of heels down the left but his pull-back was slightly miss-directed. Lampard kept the attack alive with a pass to the Brazilian whose poke at goal needed a good save.
In the two minutes before the break the lead could, and probably should, have been doubled.
Torres was sent racing away just inside the Basel half and although he initially overran the ball, that lost his chaser and allowed him to pass wide. Torres then attempted to acrobatically convert the cross but didn't make proper contact. Hazard instead blazed over.
Basel v Chelsea
Moments later it was Hazard again with the chance, this time created by Moses, but with only the keeper to beat, he shot well wide.
Second halfTwo minutes into the half Basel hit the post and this time Cech had been bypassed. Stocker, the Swiss side's wide-left player, made a darting run into the area and although initially held up by David Luiz, he was able to continue his run. His low shot had enough power to beat the Chelsea keeper, but thankfully lacked the direction - just!
Six minutes later it was our turn to rattle the woodwork. Hazard somehow stayed upright after being clattered on the run just outside the penalty area, and excelled in making the byline and picking out a team-mate, but from 10 yards out, Torres smashed a first-time strike against the post.
Basel could have made the Blues pay when Cech couldn't reach a high-flighted corner but their hefty centre-forward Marco Streller couldn't capitalise at the far post. Fabian Frei was not very far away with a long-range shot soon after. The Blues could not relax in this tie.
On 68 minutes Cole picked up the game's first booking for taking too long with a throw-in and it was a significant card. It rules the returning left-back out of the second leg. Basel centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic was also booked a minute later, much to the home fans' annoyance and he too will be suspended at the Bridge.
Basel were wasteful with quarter-of-an-hour to go. Schar played a ball behind Cole who couldn't catch Mohamed Salah but the winger took a strong touch and Cech was able to win the race for the ball.
Two more players were shown yellow soon after - neither facing a ban. They were substitute David Degen and David Luiz. With the ball back in play, Cole was sharp and well-positioned to keep Basel at bay when we looked vulnerable.
The Swiss side were turning the screw and kept the ball fizzing around our area. They were rewarded on 86 minutes when a nudge by Azpilicueta on Stocker was judged enough for a penalty, converted by Schar. It was 1-1.
The final minutes saw Chelsea attack strongly. Torres couldn't get a shot in from close range and then Oscar fired just wide. David Luiz swung a free-kick only a yard wide and then Terry had a header inside the six-yard box saved..
There was still time for one more free-kick and after the sickening feeling of Suarez's equaliser at Anfield just four days ago, it was a sweet moment when David Luiz's low strike found its way past the wall and past the previously impressive Sommer, who will not be pleased with his attempt to keep it out.

TBasel v Chelseahe St Jakob-Park stadium, which moments earlier had been rocking, fell very quiet apart from one corner containing the travelling support.
Tickets for the second leg in a week's time are currently on sale to season ticket holders and members, maximum three per person.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry (c), Cole; David Luiz, Lampard (Oscar 79); Ramires, Hazard (Mata 70), Moses; Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Mikel, Benayoun.
Scorers Moses 11, David Luiz 90+3.
Cole 68, David Luiz 82.

(4-3-2-1): Sommer; P Degen, Schär, Dragovic, Park Joo Ho; Elneny (Zoua 64), F Frei; Salah (D Degen 78), Serey Die (Marcelo Diaz 60), Stocker; Streller (c).
Unused subs: Vailati, Sauro, Cabral, Steinhofer.
Scorer Schar 86 pen.
Booked Dragovic 69, D Degen 79, Schar 88.
Referee Pavel Kralovec from Czech Republic.

Thursday 2nd. March
Semi-Final 2nd. Leg
Chelsea (5) v (2) Basle agg.


SummaryThe Blues secured a second successive European final with a ruthless second-half display which saw us overcome Basel 3-1 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate, ensuring we will contest the Europa League final in Amsterdam on 15 May against Benfica, who overcame Fenerbahce in the other semi-final.
Our progression had looked in the balance when Basel took the lead with virtually the last action of the first half, Mohamed Salah firing past Cech having been denied by the Blues goalkeeper moments earlier.
The outcome of the tie, however, was shaped by a 10-minute spell early in the second half when three Chelsea goals all but booked our passage to the final.
Fernando Torres levelled on the night with his 20th goal of the season from close-range, before Victor Moses scored in similar fashion to give us the lead.
If the first two goals were defined by their importance, the third will be remembered for its pure quality, as David Luiz - whose free-kick won us the first leg right at the death - curled a magnificent left-footed strike beyond Yann Sommer.
We can now look forward to what will hopefully be another memorable European occasion in just under a fortnight's time, but immediate attention now turns to a huge Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Team newsRafael Benitez made five changes to the team which beat Swansea 2-0 on Sunday. Ryan Bertrand came in for the suspended Ashley Cole at left-back, while in the centre of defence Branislav Ivanovic replaced John Terry. Frank Lampard skippered the team alongside David Luiz in midfield, while Ramires, who limped off at the weekend, pushed further forward. Victor Moses and Fernando Torres were also given the nod, ahead of Juan Mata and the ineligible Demba Ba respectively. John Mikel Obi missed out after picking up a hip injury in training.
First halfThe Blues went into the game looking for an eighth successive home win, but we were fortunate not to fall behind inside the opening minute. A header out from the back by Markus Steinhofer evaded the whole Chelsea backline, and a huge collective sigh of relief was breathed when Basel striker Marco Streller dragged his shot wide of Petr Cech's left-hand post.
The visitors were certainly up for a physical battle, with Bertrand feeling the full force of a nasty lunge by Serey Die early on, although the midfielder somehow managed to escape caution.
It was a frenetic opening to the contest, and as the 10-minute mark approached we should have taken the lead. Ramires and Torres combined to release Lampard, but as the ball failed to come down quick enough he was forced into a snap-shot and was denied what would have been a landmark goal by the post.
Chelsea v Basel
After the early warning we began to settle, and Torres was next to threaten, bringing a smart save out of Sommer after exchanging passes with Ramires on the edge of the penalty area.
Scoring goals hadn't been a problem for Basel on their travels in the competition, and while it was Chelsea dominating possession, Murat Yakin's side looked dangerous on the break.
Streller, who had been guilty of profligacy early in the game, almost atoned for his miss in emphatic fashion 25 minutes into the game, arriving at the far post to meet a Fabian Schar cross on the volley. The power in the strike was such that Cech stood no chance, but thankfully it flew inches wide.
Four minutes later another chance went begging at the other end; Moses pulled it across the face of the goal into the path of Ramires, but the Brazilian, who was on the floor and under pressure, struggled to get enough power behind his shot and saw Sommer make the save.
After a dominant Chelsea spell, the visitors sprang into life as half-time approached. A quick, incisive move yielded the best opportunity of the game as Salah was put through on goal, with the attacker only thwarted by the quick thinking of Cech, who raced off his line to make the save.
Basel were appealing for a penalty when Valentin Stocker's shot cannoned against Bertrand as the ball bounced around in the Blues' box from the rebound, and while that particular decision went in our favour, right on half-time the Swiss side took the lead.
Stocker was again involved, this time as the orchestrator, and it was his pass that Salah latched on to, taking time to open his body up and stroking it past Cech, levelling the tie on aggregate.
Second halfWith Basel having gone in at the break with their tails up, a positive Chelsea response was imperative, and it came quicker than anybody would have expected.
Hazard, who had been a peripheral figure for much of the first half, set the tone with a brilliant solo run, and as the Belgian was crowded out Lampard took control and drove at the Basel defence. The midfielder fired towards goal and as Sommer made the save low down to his left, Torres was on hand to fire into the roof of the net and restore our aggregate advantage.
Three minutes later the game was turned well and truly on its head when we took the lead on the night. Buoyed by the equaliser, our movement was proving difficult for the away side to deal with, and as the blue shirts poured forward Torres' strike deflected into the path of Moses. The Nigerian's first effort was blocked, but the rebound fell kindly for him and he rolled the ball into an empty net to spark jubilant scenes.
Chelsea v Basel
It had been an electric start to the second half by Rafael Benitez's side, and one which would get even better just before the hour.
Lampard rolled the ball into the path of David Luiz, and the Brazilian curled an absolutely exquisite strike into the top corner with his left foot.
The defender has developed a penchant for spectacular goals of late, and this was another to add to his collection.
Perhaps more importantly, it was a goal which put us 5-2 ahead on aggregate and firmly in the ascendancy.
Chelsea v Basel
The game itself was developing into a thrilling encounter, and Basel deserved credit for the manner in which they attempted to play their way back into the game.
Our two-goal advantage on the night was almost reduced when Fabian Frei crashed a powerful effort against the bar, while Cech then saved well from Die.
Hazard, meanwhile, tried his luck with a delicate chip that Sommer managed to hold on to, and it was his last involvement as shortly after he was replaced by Juan Mata. Our first substitution had seen Ramires withdrawn for Oscar.
Nine minutes from time Nathan Ake was given his first taste of the big occasion when he replaced David Luiz, with the Brazilian receiving a wonderful ovation from the Stamford Bridge faithful as he departed.
The damage had been done by the three goals and we were able to see the game out in comfortable fashion, although Torres forced a save from Sommer on the break in the closing stages.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand; David Luiz (Ake 81), Lampard (c); Ramires (Oscar 65), Hazard (Mata 73), Moses; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Benayoun.
Scorers Torres 49, Moses 52, David Luiz 59
Booked Azpilicueta 56
Basel (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Steinhofer, Schar, Sauro, Voser; Elneny, F Frei (Diaz 73); Salah, Serey Die, Stocker (Degen 60); Streller (c) (Zoua 60).
Unused substitutes: Vailati , Marcelo Diaz, Ajeti , Park Joo Ho, Cabral.
Scorer Salah 45+1
Schar 67, Steinhofer 69, Die 87
Referee Jonas Eriksson from Sweden

      UEFA Europa Final 
Wednesday 15th. May (Amsterdam)
Chelsea v Benfica

Benfica v Chelsea



A third European final in a row for Chelsea looked to be heading for extra-time after a Benfica penalty had levelled up Fernando Torres's second-half goal, but with stoppage time underway, Branislav Ivanovic's superb header won the Europa League.
Both halves followed a similar pattern, more possession and territorial advantage for the Portuguese side but Frank Lampard came closest to scoring before the interval, and he hit woodwork late in the game too.
Torres's strike, his sixth in this competition this season, came on the hour, the Spaniard expertly finishing off a counter-attack. The penalty, for handball soon after, was despatched by Benfica's leading scorer in the tournament, Oscar Cardozo. Ivanovic's decider was from a Juan Mata corner.
The Blues have that winning feeling yet again.
Team news
With John Terry unable to recover from his ankle injury sufficiently, Branislav Ivanovic came into central defence alongside Gary Cahill.
Both wingers were changed from the weekend win at Villa, Ramires moved to a wide-right position for this game with Oscar coming in. They replaced injured Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, who was on the bench.
David Luiz played alongside captain-on-the-night Frank Lampard in midfield with Fernando Torres leading the attack.
Benfica had one enforced change from the semi-final with right-back Maxi Pereira suspended. Andre Almeida moved across from left-back to replace him with Lorenzo Melgarjo coming in on the left. Nicolas Gaitan moved from midfield in the Fenerbahçe games to play as one of the front three.
First half
After an opening ceremony featuring plenty of giant tulips and windmills, it was time for the main event in the Dutch capital. The still-reigning European champions lined up against a club that had lost their previous six European finals.
The first chance was for the Portuguese - and centre-forward Oscar Cardoza must have been unhappy not the head a cross from the right at least on-target with just two minutes played. Cesar Azpilicueta then had to get his chest in the way of a ball diverted towards the Chelsea goal by Ivanovic.
There were words from the referee to Nemanja Matic five minutes in after he bundled Ramires to the turf on halfway, but no booking for the former Chelsea midfielder. Unfortunately Oscar couldn't control a well-weighted ball over the defence by Juan Mata with the offside flag staying down.
Worryingly, Benfica were finding a fair amount of space in the 20 yards up to the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, giving them the chance to work the ball into the danger zone. Ivanovic blocked a shot from Cardozo, followed immediately by Cole blocking Salvio's effort. Then Gaitan skied a shot from inside the box and straight away held his head in hands. Other scrambles in front of Cech followed.
Oscar was booked for illegally ending Perez's run through the middle.
Around the midway point in the half the game became stop-start for a period, which suited Chelsea given the flow of the match so far. With one of several free-kicks awarded, Mata drew a double-fist save from the keeper from out wide, and Artur's handling wasn't the best when Oscar shot at him from the outside the area.
On 30 minutes Ivanovic caught Perez 10 years outside the Chelsea area after Cole's clearance had fallen to the midfielder with the defence stretched. There was no booking however and danger soon passed when Garay's free-kick struck the wall. Soon Gaitan side-footed a shot over the bar. Benfica were gaining the upper hand once again.
Finally, on 37 minutes, Chelsea truly tested Artur and Lampard brought the best out of the keeper too. Picking up the ball in prime territory, the 203-goal man let fly and the ball was swerving away from Artur when he somehow adjusted his movement mid-air and saved with one arm. Lampard's reaction was one of a man who knew most times he would have found the net with such a connection.
Inside stoppage time, Torres and Ramires created momentary chaos in the Benfica rearguard, resulting in a deliberate tug on Oscar as he made a break through the middle. A yellow card was shown to Garay.
Second half
Chelsea were asked to defend stoutly in the opening minutes after the interval, with balls coming in from both flanks, but still Cech had yet to be asked to make a proper save. Azpilicueta tracked inside diligently and hacked the ball off the toes of Salvio in front of goal when Cardozo had turned inside Cahill and squared.
Cardozo had the ball in the net on 50 minutes but he was offside.
Steadily Chelsea began to gain a foothold in the half. There were moves in and around the Portuguese team's penalty area without openings found, but it was better from the men in blue.
Then just before an hour was played, Cech launched a throw down the centre of the park. Mata may or may not have helped it on his way but he did enough to stop the Benfica midfield cutting it out.
Suddenly it was at the feet of Torres and he had the strength to shrug off Benfica captain Luisao before sidestepping to the right of the keeper and making no mistake with the finish. It was a moment of vintage Torres striking.
Luisao then picked up a booking for chopping down the Chelsea centre-forward in the next attack.
Sadly, the lead lasted less than 10 minutes. Azpilicueta, so unfortunate with penalty decisions in this Europa League run, was judged to have handballed a flick off the head ofLima, one of two substitutes only just introduced. The Chelsea right-back had little time to react to the touch but his arm was raised.
Unlike in Munich a year ago, Cech was unable to keep the penalty out. Cardozo scored it.
Torres wanted a penalty at the other end with quarter of an hour left on the clock when he and Luisao came together again but the Dutch referee declined. There was a plenty of contact.
On 81 minutes Cech was finally called upon to show his talent in open play when Cardozo launched a rocket that was heading under the bar. Big Pete tipped it over.
Spaces, inevitably at this stage of the game and this stage of the season, were opening up at either end. Ramires charged into one but Luisao got across to tackle.
With 87 minutes played, Lampard came within inches of winning the cup. Mata, who had not been heavily involved so far, worked some magic to push the ball out of a tight spot and our No.8 was running laterally when he thumped a shot from 25 yards out against the crossbar.
Benfica forced Chelsea into some hurried clearing as the clock ticked towards the end of normal time, but then another tireless Ramires run won a corner inside stoppage time. Mata sent the ball over deep and Ivanovic, between two defenders rose sky high. His header arced beautifully over the grounded Artur before the Serbian slid joyously in front of the Chelsea fans at that end.
What a moment for the man forced to sit out at Munich due to suspension.
There was still time for one last Benfica attack - the ball running loose off Ivanovic's shin - but Cahill was in the right place for a superb double clearance. A new trophy was ours.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; David Luiz, Lampard (c); Ramires, Mata, Oscar; Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Ake, Mikel, Benayoun, Marin Moses.
Scorers Torres 59, Ivanovic 90+3.
Oscar 13.

(4-2-3-1): Artur; Almeida, Luisão (c), Garay (Jardel 77), Melgarejo (John 65); Matić; Salvio, Rodrigo (Lima 65), Peréz; Gaitán, Cardozo.
Unused subs: Paulo Lopes,, Urreta, André Gomes, Aimar.
Scorer Cardozo 67 pen.
Booked Garay 45, Luisao 60.
Referee Björn Kuipers from the Netherlands.
Crowd 46,163

Torres and Ivanovic
Two Goal Scorers Share the Moment
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 2012 Champions League

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