Spurs survive Inter scare, Torres saves Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur suffered a fright before sneaking past Inter Milan to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. And although they lost 4-1 on the night, Spurs went through on away goals thanks to last week's 3-0 success at White Hart Lane.
But without the suspended Gareth Bale, Spurs made hard work of progressing as they needed extra time to do so after trailing 3-0 when the 90 minutes were up.
"It's a valuable lesson for us tonight, but we have players who can make a difference in the important moments," said Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas. "We are happy to go through. The players kept fighting in extra time, showing they wanted it."
It was little surprise when they took the lead as Palacio ran onto a clever pass from full-back Jonathan that dissected Spurs' defence, before crossing for Cassano to plant a downward header beyond Brad Friedel. But Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor should have killed the tie right at the end of the opening half following a mistake from Juan, only to chip both Samir Handanovic and the bar.
And after Spurs wasted another glorious chance at the start of the second period, Palacio ran beyond the backline onto Esteban Cambiasso's through ball before calmly beating Friedel. With just a quarter of an hour remaining, Cassano's weak and seemingly innocuous free-kick took a couple of deflections, the last off William Gallas's thigh, before trickling into the net.
Cambiasso almost won it for Inter in stoppage time but dragged his shot when clean through inches wide of the far post. Yet it was Tottenham who seemed the more fired up once the extra period began as Handanovic did brilliantly to save from Jan Vertonghen before Gallas somehow planted a free header wide.
Spurs strike in extra time
However, Inter soon cracked as Handanovic couldn't hold Mousa Dembele's stinging strike and Adebayor beat veterans Javier Zanetti and Cristian Chivu to the rebound to poke home the crucial away goal. Ricardo Alvarez headed in a fourth for Inter from Cassano's cross ten minutes from time to ensure a thrilling tie kept everyone on tenterhooks right to the end. The scoring had finished, however, and Spurs now find themselves in the quarter-finals.
Earlier today, Basel held on for an entire half with a one-man disadvantage to edge out Zenit St Petersburg 2-1 on aggregate after a defeat in Moscow. Belgian Axel Witsel scored the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark and although they had Marcelo Diaz sent off on the stroke of half-time, Basel clung on to the lead their 2-0 victory in the first leg had offered them. They had goalkeeper Yann Sommer to thank for saving a late Roman Shirokov penalty to deny Zenit a period of extra time.
There was better news for another Russian side, though, as Rubin Kazan beat Spaniards Levante 2-0 to progress by the same score on aggregate. After two goalless games, extra time was needed in Moscow to separate the sides. Venezuela's Jose Rondon opened the scoring ten minutes into the extra period before substitute Vladimir Dyadyun sealed the Dagestanis' place in the last eight.
Torres to the rescue
Fernando Torres struck the winner as Chelsea joined their London rivals in the last eight after eliminating Steaua Bucharest 3-1 (3-2 agg.) while Papiss Cisse scored with the last touch of the match, a header, to send Newcastle United through as well.
Chelsea also made hard work of their qualification despite a positive start in which Juan Mata gave them the lead. They had lost the first leg in Romania 1-0 and when Vlad Chiriches scored a crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time, Chelsea needed two more goals to go through. Captain John Terry led the way by restoring their advantage on the night before Torres snatched the vital third, although he then missed a penalty which would have calmed the home nerves.
Goalkeeper Peter Cech said Sunday's two-goal comeback at Manchester United in the FA Cup had given his side belief. "When it went to 1-1 we had to score twice but at the weekend we managed to get (back) a 2-0 deficit at Old Trafford so we believed we would get the goals," he said.
Newcastle and Anzhi Makhachkala played 180 minutes without scoring a goal but deep into injury time Senegal forward Papiss Cisse headed home a Sylvan Marveaux cross with time as good as up to send the English team through.
"It's a massive result for this football club and this is where we belong," said Newcastle centre-back Steven Taylor.
Elsewhere, Libor Kozak scored a hat-trick as Lazio completed a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win over Stuttgart with a 3-1 win in Rome. Benfica won 3-2 at Bordeaux to complete a 4-2 success overall while Fenerbahce joined UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists Galatasaray in extending Istanbul's interest in European competition as they completed a 2-1 aggregate victory over Viktoria Plzen with a 1-1 home draw.