Chelsea enter last-four of Europa League despite defeat to Rubin Kazan
Frank Lampard has reiterated the importance of Chelsea reaching the semifinal of Europa League. Last year’s Champions League winning side, Chelsea managed to grab a spot in Europa League’s last four, despite 3-2 loss to Rubin Kazan in Moscow on Thursday night.
An early strike from Fernando Torres and a second-half goal from Victor Moses ensured Chelsea escaped Moscow with victory through a 5-4 aggregate. Chelsea also have to also have to defend their title against Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinal on Sunday will have to rely upon heavy squad rotation in order to overcome their tough schedule of games.
Interim manager of Chelsea, Rafael Benitez left out Juan Mata and Eden Hazard from his squad. However, first-team players such as Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard did feature against Rubin Kazan.
“People talk (the Europa League) down at different times but when we get out there we're very professional and the closer we get to the final the more special it gets,” Frank Lampard told ESPN after the game.
“Every game is difficult at the moment but we've got a big squad. Playing every few days has got to be a compliment to us, we've reached the semi-final and now we want to get to the final.”
Fernando Torres drew first blood only three minutes after the game started. A long ball from Chelsea’s half landed in no-man’s land before Fernando Torres ran past a defender and struck a lofted shot over a closing goalkeeper from outside of the box.
“It was a great finish,” Frank Lampard said. “It's not easy, running at that pace with a defender behind you and the goal in front, but he finished it well and he's in good form at the moment.”
Rubin Kazan fought back brilliantly to score the equalizer through Ivan Sierra Marcano. Victor Moses put Chelsea in front soon afterwards, but Gokdeniz Karadeniz leveled for the Russian outfit once again. In the 72nd minute Chelsea gave away a soft penalty-kick and Bebars Natcho made no mistake in converting it into Rubin Kazan’s third goal of the night.
“I couldn't believe he gave it really,” said Frank Lampard commenting on the referee’s decision. “The fella played for it, I couldn't believe but the game was out of sight by then.”
Chelsea are the only English team left in the Europa League, since Tottenham Hotspur lost to Basel on penalty kicks and Newcastle United’s progress in the tournament has been stopped by Benfica.