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Main » 2013 » March » 15 » Chelsea 3-1 Steaua Bucharest (agg 3-2)

Chelsea 3-1 Steaua Bucharest (agg 3-2)

chelsea bucharestSecond-half goals from the pair added to Juan Mata's early goal to put Benitez's men through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League, despite Vlad Chiriches' goal
A late goal from Fernando Torres ensured that Chelsea went through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League as the Spaniard added to earlier strikes from Juan Mata and John Terry to give his side a 3-2 aggregate win against Steaua Bucharest.

A right-footed strike from Mata canceled out the away side's 1-0 lead from the first leg, before Vlad Chiriches leveled proceedings from a corner just prior to the halftime interval.

A storming second-half header from Terry was followed by a smart finish from Torres and, even though the latter missed a late penalty in an attempt to extend the lead, it proved unimportant as Steaua could not force a late goal, leaving Chelsea free to proceed to the next round.

Rafa Benitez made four changes from the side that overturned a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Manchester United, with John Terry, John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard and Torres coming in to replace Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard, Victor Moses and the cup-tied Demba Ba.

Steaua Bucharest, meanwhile, named the exact same team that managed a surprise 1-0 win over the Blues in the first leg.

After a fairly tepid opening, the first chance fell the away side's way with 10 minutes gone as a mix-up between Mikel and Terry allowed Raul Rusescu in on goal. The goalscorer from the first leg was unable to capitalize on his one-on-one though as Petr Cech made an excellent save, tipping the Romanian's effort wide.

Chelsea managed to open the scoring with just over a half-hour gone as, in spite of a fairly frustrating opening, it went ahead on the night courtesy of a Juan Mata goal. The diminutive Spaniard picked up the ball on the halfway line, advancing well before playing a lovely one-two with the driving Ramires. Mata let the return pass run onto his right before striking with his weaker foot as the ball squirmed past Tatarusanu to open proceedings on the night.

Following the opener, Chelsea began to run riot as Torres went close at the near post, striking wide after receiving the ball from Mata, before Hazard, clearly enjoying himself, played a lovely one-two with Mata before striking the ball goalwards, forcing another adept save from Tatarusanu.

Despite this increasing level of dominance, Steaua shocked the home side by pegging it just prior to the halftime whistle. Torres, back in his own area for a corner, failed to clear the set-piece at the near post and Cech could only parry Cristian Tanase's ensuing shot from close range. The rebound fell Vlad Chiriches' way and he made no mistake in his finish, firing into the roof of the net to make it 1-1 at the interval.

Chelsea soon reclaimed the lead after the break as Terry put the English club level on aggregrate, albeit still behind due to Steaua's away goal. After Hazard was felled cynically by Rapa on the left wing, Mata whipped in a dangerous ball and the centre-back converted the cross with aplomb, heading powerfully home to make it 2-1.

The home side continued to test the away side and eventually capitalized, with Torres finally breaking his duck to extend Chelsea's lead. After the typically lively Mata placed a ball into the path of Hazard, the continually impressive Belgian dummied the ball, letting it run into the striker's feet. Torres took the ball onto his left with one step, before striking it into the far corner smartly.

Torres had a golden chance to truly end the game as, after Hazard was taken down in the penalty area, he took on the responsibility of the spot kick. He got the penalty wrong though, firing against the crossbar, though, thankfully for the Spaniard, it did not have a bearing on Chelsea's progress as Steaua proved unable to get a late goal.
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