MOTD- Chelsea 3-1 Steaua Bucuresti

Chelsea have beaten Steaua Bucucesti 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to progress to the Quarterfinals of the Europa League with a 3-2 win on aggregate.  Chelsea started the match on top and kept possession in their half looking for a way through the Steaua defense. But it was Steaua who got the first chance of the match and when John Terry lost the ball twenty-five yards out from his own net, Steaua’s Raul Rusescuce was put in on goal, and took the ball up to the Chelsea box. Rusescuce curled a shot to the far post from just outside the box, and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech had to dive to his left to tip it wide. Chelsea continued to keep possession, and the Blues got their first chance of the half in the twenty-first minute when some good footwork from Eden Hazard freed John Obi Mikel on the edge of the Steaua box. Mikel struck a low shot and Steaua goalkeeper did well to make the save and push it wide.

Chelsea took a deserved lead in the twenty-fifth minute, and when Juan Mata gave the ball to Ramires five yards out form the Steaua box, Mata ran around his marker and Ramires played the ball back to him six yards out from goal. Mata let the ball run through his legs hit a shot through the legs of Steaua goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, and despite a slight deflection of Tatarusanu’s legs, the ball managed to creep into the near post. The Blues tried to double their lead, but the Steaua defense held strong and Chelsea couldn’t create any chances. Amazingly, Steaua equalized with the last kick of the half when Chelsea failed to clear a corner after Cech did well kick-save a poke from one of the Steaua players at the near post, and the ball fell to Vlad Chiriches. Chiriches slammed the ball into the back of the net from five yards out to make it 1-1. The first half ended immediately after the goal, with Chelsea needing to score two goals in the second half to progress to the Quarterfinals.

With the possibility of extra time gone, Chelsea started the second half lively and tied the tie 2-2 on aggregate in the fifty-eighth minute of a Mata free-kick on the left side of the Steaua box.  The Spaniard swung the ball to the near post, and John Terry reached it completely unmarked.  Terry hit it hard and low into the near side of the net to put Chelsea 2-0 up.  Chelsea started to push Steaua back into their half, and almost got their third goal on the night in the sixty-second minute when Hazard slammed a volley from the edge of the box at Tatarusanu who kicked it away without knowing to much about it.  Steaua did look dangerous on the counterattack, but Chelsea kept to push Steaua back and the Romanian side were having trouble containing Chelsea.

Chelsea needed one more goal to progress to the Quarters, and got it in the seventy-first minute when Mata feed the ball to Torres on the left side of the Steaua box.  Hazard let it run on to Torres and the Spaniard cut the ball across his body and hit a shot through the legs of Steaua defender Alexandru Chipciu.  The shot just managed to slip into the far post to put Chelsea 3-1 up and up 3-2 on aggregate.  Chelsea kept on top, and after changing his shirt due to a nosebleed, Torres came back on and almost put Chelsea 4-1, but his shot from the right side of the box curled just wide.  But Steaua still had hope, and if they scored one goal Chelsea would have to score again to make it through.  In the eighty-sixth minute Chelsea had a golden chance to put the game away, and when Hazard cut inside the center of the Steaua box, Alexandru Bourceanu tripped him and referee Stéphane Lannoy awarded a penalty.  Torres stepped up to take the kick, and his shot looked like it was in, but it flew just to high and hit the top crossbar and bounced out.  Torres almost made up for his miss in the second minute of injury time, and he rounded three Steaua defenders on the right to come into the box, and he played the ball to Yossi Benayoun who flicked the ball just wide.  After three minutes of intense extra time, the match ended with Chelsea winning the match 3-1 and the tie 3-2.
Man of the Match: Fernando Torres


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