Europa League: Tottenham lucky, but Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle go through

15/03/2013 no comments »
Europa League: Tottenham lucky, but Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle go through

Inter Milan 4:1 Tottenham Hotspurs

Tottenham loses against Inter Milan with 4:1, but qualifies for the Europa League quarter-final after winning 3:0 at the White Hart Lane in the first leg and an important away goal at the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza.

Tottenham travelled to Milan with a comfortable 3:0 victory from the first leg at the White Hart Lane and missed Bale (3rd yellow), Sandro and Dempsey due to injuries. Lennon and Adebayor travelled to Milan despite missing the match against Liverpool last weekend.

Inter Milan was the more active team straight from the beginning and came to early chance through Cassano. Cassano troubled the Spurs defence and scored the lead for Inter in the 19th minute after heading past Friedel from close range. The striker was always dangerous up front and Milan defended well against Adebayor and Defoe in the back. Sigurdsson tested Inter keeper Handanovic for the first time just before the half-time and Handanovic made a brilliant save. 

Inter knew they needed two more goals and kept pressuring. The – pressure paid off and Palacio extended Inter’s lead in the 51st minute after a great pass by Cambiasso – 2:0 Inter and only one goal away from extra-time. The Spurs were shocked and the 3:0 was just a matter of time. Inter made the 3:0 in the 75th minute after Gallas put the ball in his own goal. Inter needed just one more to beat the Spurs on aggregate. Alvarez and Cambiasso created more chances for Inter, but both teams went into extra time. Adebayor finally saved Tottenham in the 95th minute when he tapped in a loose ball and scored the crucial away goal. Keeper Handanovic blocked a Dembele shot and Adebayor was in the right place to tab in the rebound.    Palacio, Cassano and Alvarez, however, kept troubling the Spurs defence and Alvarez finally scored the 4:1 for Inter in the 109th minute.

For Tottenham, it was the first defeat in the Europa League campaign 2012/13. Andre Villas-Boas said: “We always looked on the back foot and we couldn’t find our football, that’s why we struggled so much. In the end, we managed to score away from home which was our objective but only in extra time and after a lot of suffering.”

Chelsea 3:1 Steaua Bucharest

Chelsea qualified for the Europa League quarter-final after a 3:1 victory at the Stamford Bridge against Steaua Bucharest.

Chelsea entered the game with a lot of confidence after battling back a two goal deficit against Manchester United in the FA Cup. However, Steaua Bucharest made the Benitez team work hard in order to go through to the next stage.

Chelsea started with Torres, Mata and Hazard and came to first changes through Ramires and Mikel. Chelsea took the lead after 33 minutes when Mata shot through Tatarusanu’s legs. Steaua Bucharest, however, came back and scored the equalizer just before half-time. Tanase’s shot hit the post and tapped in by Chiriches from close range. The equalizer and Chelsea needed two more goals. Chelsea struggled at the beginning of the second half, but Terry headed home a Mata free-kick to extend the lead to 2:1. Torres scored his second Europa League goal of this season and gave Chelsea the important 2 goal lead.

Benitez said: ‘We knew Steaua are a good team and we knew they had some strengths and some weaknesses, so we tried to exploit the weaknesses but still we were a little bit worried about their strengths.”

Newcastle 1: 0 Anzhi Makhachkala

Newcastle went through to the Europa League quarter-final after a dramatic second leg that saw Newcastle win through a goal by Cisse in the 90th minute.

Alan Pardew selected one of the strongest line-ups against Anzhi and made only 2 changes from the weekend. Anzhi was always dangerous through Samuel Eto’o and Diarra even without the influential Willian who missed the game due to injury. Eto and Diarra came to an early chance that were both saved by Newcastle keeper Elliot. Newcastle’s only first half chance came from a long strike by Cabaye. Anzhi was reduced to 10 men 10 minutes in the second half after Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez received his second yellow card. Newcastle tried to remain patient in the second half and Mbark Boussoufa’s free-kick hit the crossbar. Cisse, finally, scored the important Newcastle goal in the 90th minute.  

Alan Pardew: “We did a lot better in the second half and put them under pressure and when you put them under pressure something gives. I think we’ve put out one of the best teams in the competition if I’m honest. We just squeezed over the line and I’m highly delighted. We’ve had a very, very tough two games.”

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