Friday 05 April 2013
There were mixed results for Premier League sides in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night with Chelsea running out 3-1 winners, Tottenham Hotspur recovering to draw 2-2 and Newcastle United suffering a 3-1 defeat in their quarter-final first legs, although Spurs are sweating over an ankle injury to Gareth Bale.
Tottenham Hotspur rallied from two goals down to share an entertaining draw with FC Basel at White Hart Lane, whose comeback was marred by an ankle injury to Gareth Bale that will force him out of this weekend’s Barclays Premier League encounter with Everton.
"Gareth has rolled over his ankle - but it shouldn't be as bad as it looks in the images"
The visitors took the lead on the half-hour when Valentin Stocker scored after Marco Streller’s shot on the turn had rebounded off the post and Basel doubled their advantage 10 minutes before the interval through Fabian Frei's header.
Tottenham responded quickly, however, with Emmanuel Adebayor reducing the arrears five minutes later and Gylfi Sigurdsson's deflected second-half strike gave Andre Villas-Boas’s charges hope of winning the tie on aggregate.
However, at the very end of the match Bale turned his ankle while attempting a tackle and was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, leaving Villas-Boas, who also saw lost Aaron Lennon, Benoit Assou-Ekoto and William Gallas to injury, sweating over the fitness of his outstanding performer this season.
"Gareth has rolled over his ankle and we still need to get assessment that we can only have on Friday," said the Portuguese. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it looks in the images. He has torn that ligament before and there's nothing to tear now. There is lots of swelling and the pain is obviously very, very big but we hope to assess him tomorrow.
"There is a big possibility he is going to be able to make it for the Man City game and he will only miss the next two games, but assurances we can only give you tomorrow when we have seen the scan."
Fernando Torres scored twice as Chelsea completed an assertive victory over Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge.
"We have confidence we can do it there - they'll attack us and they have players of quality, but we can get through"
The Spanish striker latched on to a long ball to give his side the lead on 16 minutes before Victor Moses made it 2-0 with a fine volley on 32 minutes. Bebras Natcho converted a penalty four minutes before half-time following a handball by John Terry, but Torres, wearing a face mask to protect a recently broken nose, restored the two-goal cushion with 20 minutes remaining.
The Blues will go to the Russian capital next Thursday in good heart, according to manager Rafael Benitez. “We have confidence we can do it there," he said. "They'll attack us and they have players of quality, but we can get through."
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was left to rue defensive mistakes and missed opportunities at the other end as his side lost to Benfica in Lisbon.
"A disappointing result which didn't reflect our performance but we made two bad mistakes"
The Magpies got off to a strong start and took an early lead through Papiss Cisse after 12 minutes. Indeed the same player was unfortunate not to score again moments later when his deflected effort was saved on to the post by Benfica goalkeeper Artur.
Benfica levelled on 25 minutes when Tim Krul parried a swerving shot by Oscar Cardoza and Rodrigo swept in the rebound. Cisse was again denied by the woodwork when put through by Sylvain Marveaux’s pass, as the Senegal striker’s left-footed dink bounced off the upright, but the hosts rallied again, taking the lead midway through the second half when Lima intercepted Davide Santon’s back pass and rounded Krul to score.
Newcastle’s misery was complete when a handling offence by Steven Taylor enabled Cardoza to score from a twice-taken penalty, leaving the Magpies with it all to do in the return leg.
"A disappointing result which didn't reflect our performance but we made two bad mistakes," reflected Pardew. "We were twice denied by the woodwork and we showed we can cause Benfica problems, though. They're a good side, no doubt about that, but anything is possible."
Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United
Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan
Fenerbahce 2-0 Lazio
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 FC Basel