Chelsea vs. Rubin Kazan
Rubin Kazan, having already eliminated the defending champions of one European competition, weren’t at all feeling like underdogs when they headed to London for the first leg of this game. Kurban Berdyev’s side, however, knew that this one wouldn’t be an easy match and that a lot of work would have to be done if they wanted to get past the current champions of Europe. Rafa Benitez’ side, in the same manner, prepared themselves for a tough game against the Russian team.
This game started with both sides rushing to create chances and score early goals to demotivate and slow down their opponents. Chelsea managed to do this first, however, to the delight of the home fans. Just a quarter of an hour into the game, David Luiz’s long pass met Fernando Torres, who did well to finish the job and give his side the early lead.
The visitors were even more stunned when, just 18 minutes later, Victor Moses, who had had an attempt saved by Ryzhikov some moments earlier, put the second one into the net, assisted by Juan Mata, to make it 2-0 for Chelsea.
Rubin were now awake and working to get a goal for themselves before the break. Things went their way and they were, just 4 minutes from the break, awarded a penalty for a handball by Chelsea captain John Terry. 25-year-old Israeli International Bebras Natcho confidently scored from the resulting penalty, and the Russian side was alive again as the two teams headed into the break.
The second half started stronger for both teams with Chelsea looking to regain the two-goal cushion and Rubin looking to get another important away goal. Chelsea, however, remained in control over their opponents and continued to test Ryzhikov in the Rubin goal. That’s not to say Petr Cech was having it easy! Jose Rondon and Gokdeniz Karadeniz continued to make him uncomfortable by attempting to put more goals past him. The 30-year-old Czech International in the Chelsea goal also had to remain alert.
Goals looked to be coming for both sides, but it would be Chelsea who would score the only goal in the second half on the night to win the game 3-1. Fernando Torres met an excellent cross from fellow Spaniard Juan Mata and headed past Ryzhikov to give his side a decent advantage before their trip to Russia.
Statistic-wise, Chelsea had a total of 16 attempts against Rubin’s 10, meaning that Ryzhikov was the busier goalkeeper (especially in the second half). 4 yellow cards were issued between the two teams; 3 to the hosts and 1 to the visitors. No players were sent off during this match.
Rafael Benitez and Kurban Berdyev lined up the following squads:
Chelsea Starting XI
Cech, Luiz, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Moses, Benayoun, Torres
Subs: Trurnbull, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, and Marin
Rubin Kazan Starting XI
Ryzhikov, Ansaldi, Cesar Navas, Kaleshin, Sharonov (c), Orbaiz, Eremenko, Karadeniz, Natcho, Kuzmin, Dyadyun
Subs: Arlauskis, Marcano, Ryazantsev, Kislyak, Gokhan Tore, Rondon, and Kasaev
Final Score: Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan
Torres 16′ 70′, Moses 32′ | Natcho 41′ (pen)
SL Benfica vs. Newcastle United
Alan Pardew and his men traveled to Lisbon with an aim of scoring as many away goals as would be possible. Jorge Jesus knew just how strong their English opposition would be and did all the necessary preparations to ensure they wouldn’t achieve their aim.
Alan Pardew’s side started off strong and confident, with the first attempt coming after just 2 minutes and their first goal just 10 minutes after that. Papiss Cisse, who had been threatening from the word go, picked up a low ball from Moussa Sissoko and didn’t hesitate to fire it past Artur from close range. The English side knew that this wasn’t enough, however. The hosts started looking for an equalizer almost immediately.
After two scares at the Newcastle goal, Benfica finally managed to score 13 minutes after the visitors’ goal. Rodrigo, picking up the pieces of an Oscar Cardozo attempt, got the ball past Tim Krul to put his side level on goals. And they weren’t done yet! Had it not been for the hard work of Tim Krul, Andre Gomes and John would have put their side ahead just 2 minutes after their first goal. The rest of the half was dominated by the home side, who were set on scoring more than just 1 goal.
The second half started well for the visitors as well. Just 2 minutes after the whistle had been blown, Papiss Cisse almost put his side ahead again but was only prevented by the woodwork, leaving Artur sighing with relief. The home side was able to regain control in the moments that followed after fresh legs were introduced on the hour mark.
The Benfica goalscorer, Rodrigo made way for Lima, a move that ended up being successful just 4 minutes later. Lima, having stolen a Santon ball, made it easily past Krul and scored into an empty net, putting his side ahead for the first time in the game.
As if Newcastle hadn’t suffered enough, Benfica were awarded a chance to add to their tally just 6 minutes later when Steven Taylor committed a foul inside the penalty area. Oscar Cardozo successfully put the ball past Tim Krul from the resulting penalty and it was now Benfica 3-1 Newcastle.
Despite some good attempts towards the end of the game, there were no more goals in this game. Benfica finished pleased ahead of their trip to Newcastle for the second leg. Alan Pardew’s men knew they would have a lot of work to do if they were to go any further in the competition.
Benfica had a total of 20 attempts against only 7 for Newcastle. Newcastle United hit the woodwork twice. Antony Gautier issued 4 yellow cards (2-a-side) between the two teams. No players were sent off during this game.
Alan Pardew and Jose Jesus lined up the following squads:
Benfica Starting XI
Artur, Luisao (c), Garay, Andre Almeida, Oscar Cardozo, Gaitan, Matic, Andre Gomes, John, Melgarejo, Rodrigo
Subs: Lopes, Roderick, Aimar, Perez, Urreta, Pereira, and Lima
Newcastle Starting XI
Krul, Santon, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Perch, Cabaye (c), Sissoko, Gutierrez, Simpson, Cisse, Marveaux
Subs: Elliot, Williamson, Obertan, Campbell, Anita, Gosling, and Ameobi
Final Score: SL Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United
Cisse 12′ | Rodrigo 25′, Lima 65′, Oscar Cardozo 71′ (pen)
Written by Ange Marline