Chants mar Tottenham triumph

Fernando Torres scored then missed a penalty for Chelsea as they

turned around their tie against Steaua Bucharest with a 3-1 win at

Stamford Bridge to seal a 3-2 aggregate triumph and reach the

quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.

Juan Mata cancelled out Steaua’s 1-0 first-leg lead in the 33rd

minute after a neat one-two with Ramires, only for the visitors to

level things up on the stroke of half-time when Vlad Chiriches

poked home from close range after a goal-line scramble.

Blues captain John Terry made it 2-2 on the night when he

skipped past Steaua defender Lukas Szukala to get on the end of

Juan Mata’s free-kick from 20 yards with a bullet header, then

Torres sealed Chelsea’s progression 20 minutes from time but could

not add to his haul as he skied a penalty late on after a foul on

Eden Hazard.

It was Raul Rusescu’s penalty which handed Steaua the advantage

at the end of the first leg and the striker nearly doubled their

overall lead after 12 minutes. John-Obi Mikel dithered over a

clearance and Cristian Tanase stole the ball before finding

Rusescu, who breached the offside trap before his shot was saved by

Petr Cech.

After a quick Mata free-kick was held by Ciprian Tatarusanu,

Steaua captain Alexandru Bourceanu fired a 30-yard warning shot

narrowly wide and Cech saved from Tanase, who was causing Terry, in

particular, problems with his pace.

When the hosts took the direct route it paid off. Mata picked up

the ball inside the Steaua half in the right channel and ran at his

marker. The Spaniard played the ball inside to Ramires, who

continued running at the defence before playing a return pass.

While Torres moved out of the way, Mata used his body to shield the

ball from Iasmin Latovlevici and his shot squirmed in under

Tatarusanu.

Torres shot narrowly wide soon after before Mata and Hazard

crafted an opening, only for the Belgian’s shot to be saved.

Chelsea still could not relax, though, as Ashley Cole had to be

alert to halt Adrian Popa after David Luiz had given the ball

away.

From the resulting corner and the last move of the first half,

Steaua restored their advantage. The set-piece was played to the

near post and a scramble ensued inside the six-yard box, with

Tanase’s shot smartly saved by Cech, who could do nothing about the

rebound as Chiriches fired into the roof of the net.

Chelsea needed two goals in the second half and the first came

after Cornel Rapa fouled Hazard and Mata delivered the resulting

free-kick towards Terry. The skipper’s powers may have been reduced

by age and niggling injury, but when left unmarked he remains a

potent force and his header from 10 yards went in off the post.

Cech saved a dipping shot from Alexandru Chipciu before Mata set

up the third goal Chelsea needed. He cut in from the right, Hazard

stepped over the left-footed cross and Torres picked up the

ball.

The striker, whose most recent prior strike was at Brentford in

the FA Cup, stepped around Lukasz Szukata and netted low across

goal. The World Cup winner lost his footing in the area soon after

under the challenge of Szukata, emerging with a bleeding nose,

before shooting narrowly wide.

Chelsea were awarded a penalty when Hazard was caught by

Bourceanu. Torres stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way

– but his shot hit the top of the crossbar. Fortunately for the

hosts he had already done enough to secure a place in the

quarter-finals.

The 26-year-old left-back made two appearances for the Cherries

after moving to Dean Court last month.

But with Wayne Bridge missing Tuesday night’s defeat at Barnsley

with a hamstring injury, Painter has been recalled as defensive

cover.

He will be available for selection when Albion host derby rivals

Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Spurs lost 4-1 after extra-time on the night but progressed to

the Europa League quarter-finals on away goals after the tie

finished 4-4 on aggregate.

However, much of the aftermath to the thrilling encounter will

surround what action governing body UEFA will take against Inter

after racism seemingly reared its ugly head on Thursday night.

Monkey chants appeared to be aimed at several Tottenham players,

notably goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor, while a fan was seen with an

inflatable banana.

It is not the first occasion Spurs have had problems against

Italian sides this season.

Lazio were fined for racist chanting in their Group J tie at

White Hart Lane in September and were reprimanded again for racist

behaviour in November’s return game.