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UEFA Europa League wrap: Torres stars but Bale hurt

By Football News



Fernando Torres helped Chelsea edge towards the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, while there were mixed results for Newcastle and Tottenham.

A brace from Torres saw Rafael Benitez's Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Russian outfit Rubin Kazan in the first leg of their quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

The Spaniard's double and a Victor Moses strike were enough to put the reigning UEFA Champions League winners in control of the tie, despite Bibras Natcho's 41st-minute penalty.

Newcastle United slumped to a 3-1 loss at Benfica in their first leg, while Tottenham had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Basel, but also had Gareth Bale stretchered off late on.

Torres, wearing a protective face mask, opened the scoring against Rubin Kazan in the 16th minute, scrambling home after getting on the end of David Luiz's well-weighted pass.

Moses put Chelsea in command just after the half-hour mark, controlling a clearance with his chest just inside the area before unleashing a powerful half-volley past a helpless Sergei Ryzhikov.

The visitors pulled a goal back before the break through Natcho, who finished from the penalty spot after a John Terry handball.

But Chelsea restored their two-goal lead on 70 minutes as Torres headed in a lovely Juan Mata cross, taking his tally of strikes for 2013 to four.

 At White Hart Lane, Tottenham came from two goals down to draw against Basel, but had star Bale stretchered off with an ankle injury in additional time.

Valentin Stocker and Fabian Frei looked to have the Swiss champions cruising to a stunning win with first-half goals.

But Emmanuel Adebayor pulled a goal back before half-time and a deflected Gylfi Sigurdsson strike earned Andre Villas-Boas' men a point.

Bale came off late in the encounter after appearing to seriously injure his ankle.

Newcastle have work to do in the return leg of their tie against Benfica after letting a lead slip in their 3-1 loss.

Papiss Cisse put them ahead but goals from Rodrigo, Lima and an Oscar Cardozo penalty have the Liga Sagres leaders in a strong position to advance.

In the other quarter-final, Fenerbahce overcame a 10-man Lazio 2-0 thanks to goals from Pierre Webo and Dirk Kuyt in Turkey.