Live Commentary: Chelsea 3-1 (3-2) Steaua Bucuresti - as it happened

Chelsea's Juan Mata opens the scoring against Steaua Bucharest on March 14, 2013
© PA Photos
Read how Chelsea overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to beat Steaua 3-2 on aggregate and progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Chelsea progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League by edging Steaua Bucuresti 3-2 on aggregate this evening.

After going down 1-0 in the Romanian capital, Chelsea turned the tie around with a 3-1 triumph in London.

Read how it all unfolded at the Bridge in our minute-by-minute live coverage below.


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7.01pmEvening folks, should be a good game tonight as Chelsea have to perform if they are to proceed. If Steaua grab an away goal then the Blues will require at least three to go through. Let's get to the teams anyway as the hosts' XI has just been announced...

7.02pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! Benitez names an attacking lineup that includes Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres.

7.03pmCHELSEA XI: Cech; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Oscar; Torres

7.05pmAs mentioned, it's a strong outfit Benitez has put out. It's not often that the playmaking trio of Oscar, Mata and Hazard all start, and many argue that their playing styles are too similar so all three can't be accommodated. Torres is the lone striker and the only real choice as Demba Ba can't feature for Chelsea after appearing for Newcastle before his move to Stamford Bridge.

7.07pmSTEAUA XI: Tatausanu, Szukata, Pintilii, Chipciu, Tanase, Latovlevici, Rapa, Chiriches, Rusescu, Bourceanu, Popa

7.09pmThe man to look out for in that Steaua side is Raul Rusescu. He was lively up front in the first leg and scored the only goal from the penalty spot following Ryan Bertrand's tug.

7.13pmBertrand was in for the rested Ashley Cole last week but Cole has returned to the Chelsea side as Benitez picks almost his strongest XI. Arguably Lampard should be starting and on that note, here are the two substitute benches:

Chelsea: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Bertrand, Lampard, Benayoun, Moses
Steaua: Stanca, Gardos, Filip, Prepelita, Iancu, Leandro, Filho


7.17pmUPDATE: One of the other English sides left in the competition is Spurs and they're already into the second half in Milan against Inter. They trounced the Nerazzurri 3-0 back in London but it's now 2-0 to the Italians in the return and set up for a hell of a finish. Why not open up Barney Corkhill's updates in a new tab by clicking here.

7.23pmREFEREE WATCH: Back to tonight's game and just to let you know that the man in charge in West London is Frenchman Stephane Lannoy.

7.28pmLooking over that Steaua XI once more, goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was solid last week while I was particularly impressed with left back Iasmin Latovlevici.

7.31pmCentral midfielder Cristian Tanase was expected to show us his talent in the first leg but he was a little underwhelming. Can he impress tonight?

7.34pmUPDATE: Inter level the tie against Spurs as Cassano's free kick takes a wicked deflection and somehow spins into the far corner. Extra time is on the cards unless either side can find a goal, follow the remaining 15 minutes of normal time with Barney here.


7.38pmTwo other matches have already been completed tonight because of the time difference in Russia and Rubin and Basel have progressed. Find our match reports of those by clicking here.

7.42pmWe now know that Mr Lampard hasn't made the Chelsea team tonight but he's been speaking about Steaua in a positive light. Read more here.

7.45pmJust in case you didn't know, kickoff tonight is a 8.05pm - in 20 minutes. Both sides are currently in the middle of their warm-ups out on the pitch.

7.49pmLooking at the two sides' domestic form, Chelsea are in fourth place in the Premier League while Steaua are 12 points clear in the Romanian top flight.

7.52pmUPDATE: Huge chance for Inter to steal it but Cambiasso drags wide and Inter and Spurs are headed for extra time. Follow here.

7.55pmPREDICTION TIME! With 10 minutes until kickoff, it's time for my thoughts on the match. I fully expect Chelsea to progress whether that's by one or two-nil or more if Steaua score. I'm backing Torres to get at least one.

8pmBoth sides are ready and waiting in the tunnel and here they come.

8.03pmJust before we start, let me point you in the direction of the other English team in action tonight. Newcastle hosts Anzhi after a 0-0 draw in the first leg and you can join Matt Law here.

0 minKICKOFF: Steaua get us underway in London.

8.06pmUPDATE: Spurs get their crucial away goal in Milan through Adebayor! Inter now need two to go through.

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3 minMata was rested last week and Chelsea paid the price. The little Spaniard, who was man of the match, in Sunday's FA Cup draw with Manchester United, gets his first meaningful touches of the ball but crosses too long for Torres.

5 minTorres almost collects a loose ball in the area and tumbles under challenge from several red shirts. There wasn't much in it and referee Lannoy was right to shake his head there.

11 minA stale five minutes is broken by Azpilicueta's strong flick-on that sets Oscar free down the right. The Brazilian picks out Mata on the edge of the box and he in turn looks for Hazard but the Belgian's touch is heavy and the attack breaks down.

13 minCHANCE! Oh what an opportunity for Steaua to grab a crucial away goal. The Blues lose ball on the edge of their box and suddenly the dangerous Rusescu is in. He looks to bend it in to the far corner but doesn't beat the outstretched fingertips of Cech.

16 minMata wins himself a free kick about 30-35 yards out and looks to take it quickly, a la Thierry Henry, but Tatarusanu is alert and catches easily.

17 minSteaua have a shot of their own as Bourceanu sidesteps Mikel before letting fly. He didn't catch it quite right but it still has Cech worried as it loops wide.

8.24pmUPDATE: Inter level the tie on aggregate as they go 4-1 ahead on the night in the San Siro. Spurs are still on course to progress because of the away-goals rule but Inter only require one and have 10 minutes to find one. Follow the remainder here.

23 minSHOTS! Mikel is hardly renowned for his shooting but he's just had a couple of solid efforts on goal. The first was a sweeping effort pushed away by Tatarusanu after some tantalising footwork from Hazard. From the resulting corner the ball fell to the Nigerian and he had a go with his left that sailed over.

27 minMata is in on goal but the referee's whistle had already gone for a clip of Szukala's ankles.

34 minGOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Steaua (Mata)

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34 minThey haven't been great so far but Chelsea are ahead thanks to their star man Mata. The Spaniard drove at the Steaua defence before laying off to Ramires who broke towards the area. He then found the number 10 again and his right-foot shot just about squeezed in off the near post.

8.41pmUPDATE: That goal went in just as the full-time whistle went at the San Siro and Spurs are through by the skin of their teeth. Read our match report here.

40 minSAVE! Oh that's just lovely from Mata and Hazard. The latter skipped in from the left and exchanged quick passes with Mata before rasping a shot at goal that Tatarusanu had to parry out.

44 minPopa races clear down the right and sprints into the box before Cole gets back to slide in and clear for a corner. Luciano's delivery is excellent but so is Chelsea's defending as Terry gets up to head clear.

45+1 minGOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Steaua (Chiriches)

45+1 minDear oh dear. Steaua have a succession of corners and the third results in a goal. In truth, it was the worst of Luciano's three deliveries but it isn't cleared at the near post and after a bit of penalty-box pinball, Chiriches reacts quickest to poke into the roof of the net.

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Chelsea 1-1 Steaua

8.55pmWhat a killer blow that Steaua toepoke could prove to be. Chelsea now require two goals in the second 45 if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

8.57pmIf you've only just joined us and want a concise summary of the opening period, our HT report is here.

8.59pmStats-wise, Chelsea have had 61% of the ball and eight shots to Steaua's five. However, both sides have hit the target on four occasions.

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9.01pmUp North, there's still to be a goal in the tie between Newcastle and Anzhi. Our HT report for that one can be found here. Worryingly for the Magpies, French midfielder Yohan Cabaye left the field injured in the opening period.

46 minKICKOFF! Chelsea get the second 45 underway. The Blues need two goals, can they do it? I think they can.

49 minPopa skins Ashley Cole down the right and Terry has to come across to whack clear his delivery. Good start to the half from the visitors.

49 minYELLOW! First man in the book is Steaua captain Bourceanu for a nasty lunge from behind on Mata.

52 minAll the noise inside Stamford Bridge is coming from the Romanian supporters. Chelsea have done little at the start of the second half to rouse the home faithful.

54 minFerocious shoulder charge from Luiz on Rusescu goes unpunished. Steaua continue to look dangerous as, soon after, Rusescu squares for Bourceanu but he's put off his shot by Mikel's challenge.

58 minYELLOW! Another Steaua booking, this time for right-back Rapa after a mistimed sliding tackle on Hazard.

58 minGOAL! Chelsea 2-1 Steaua (Terry)

58 minClassic Terry header as he cleverly loses his marker before being picked out by Mata to head in off the near post. Tatarusanu seemed to think it was sneaking wide as he didn't fully outstretch his hand.

61 minSHOT! Steaua almost with another killer blow as Mikel loses possession in a dangerous position and Chipciu feints onto his left before lashing goalwards. The ball is swerving a little and Cech seems unsure in palming it away with one hand.

65 minChelsea have a free kick at least 35 yards out and Luiz takes it on. He gets it up and over the wall but it hasn't got much power and bounces in front of Tatarusanu, who holds on just fine.

9.29pmUPDATE: It's still goalless on Tyneside but Anzhi have had a man sent off and surely Newcastle are now favourites to go on and progress there.

69 minBlistering pace from Hazard down the left. He also has a cracking turn of direction and uses it to jinx inside a pair of defenders before seeking Oscar with a reverse pass that was well read by Szukala.

70 minYELLOW! First Chelsea caution is for Mikel because of a studs-up challenge on Popa.

71 minGOAL! Chelsea 3-1 Steaua (Torres)

71 minScroll back before the game and look at my prediction. I said Torres would score tonight and low and behold he has. Mata cuts in from the right and fizzes it in for Hazard who gets the slightest flick to move it on to Torres. He takes one touch before sliding it onto his left and finishing back across goal into the far corner. Top finish.

73 minAnd now Chelsea are convinced they should have a penalty as Torres cuts inside and seems to be taken out by Szukala. Referee Lannoy isn't convinced though and neither is the official who had his eyes right over it. Replays suggest that it was a tough call but there does seem to be contact.


76 minStraight after the non-award of the penalty, Torres stayed on the ground sulking and Szukala came in and accidentally kicked him in the face. He's now bleeding heavily from the nose and has had to change shirts twice because of the blood.

78 minJUST WIDE! Oscar nicks the ball from Tanase and shows his pace to break into the area before poking a left-foot shot from a tight angle narrowly wide of the far post.

79 minSTEAUA SUB: First substitution of the night as Tanase is replaced by Leandro Tatu for the visitors.

81 minYELLOW! Cole is shown a card for a bit of a nothing challenge on Popa, who has gone down far too easily all night long. Slo-mo replays of the Torres penalty shout show that it looked to be more of a pen that night.

84 minSTEAUA SUB: Final change for the Romanian side sees Rapa replaced by Adi Sobrinho.

86 minPENALTY TO CHELSEA! Hazard tripped by Bourceanu. Clear pen.

87 minTorres to take...

87 minMISSED! El Nino smacks it against the crossbar and the ball flies over.

88 minWell that just sums up Torres's time at Chelsea. He scores a good goal but then misses a penalty.

90 minCHELSEA SUB: Benitez finally makes his first change of the evening as Mata comes off for Victor Moses.

90+1 minThree minutes added on at the end of the second half.

90+2 minSteaua are still plugging away but Rusescu is penalised for jumping into Azpilicueta.

90+3 minCHELSEA SUB: Time-wasting tactics from Benitez as Yossi Benayoun replaces the excellent Hazard.

90+4 minCHANCE! Brilliant run from Torres down the right touchline and he pulls it back for Benayoun who somehow doesn't get enough purchase on his flick and the ball rolls to safety.


90+5 minFULL-TIME: Chelsea 3-1 Steaua The Blues progress 3-2 on aggregate.

9.56pmChelsea are through but let's hop straight to St James' Park because there's been a late, late goal on Tyneside. Papiss CISSE strikes with virtually the last kick of the game to send the Magpies through.

9.59pmIf you've only just joined us and want a summary of the match then you can find our match report right here - with full-size images from the match.

10.01pmAll three English teams progressed tonight but it was far from easy for either Chelsea, Newcastle or Spurs. Find all the match reports from the Europa League tonight by clicking here.

10.02pmThanks for joining Sports Mole this evening. Be sure to stick around on site for news and views all through the night! See you again soon.

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez at the Stadium of Light on December 8, 2012
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