Chelsea vs. Steaua Bucharest: Final score 3-1, Blues through in Europa League

Scott Heavey

A first half away goal by Steaua Bucharest had Chelsea in trouble, but Fernando Torres scored the decisive goal in the Blues' victory.

Steaua Bucharest nicked a bit of a lucky away goal in the first half at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea fought back and scored a couple of excellent goals in the second half to fire their way into the quarterfinal of the Europa League. John Terry and Fernando Torres both scored in the second half, leading to the Blues' 3-1 win on the night and a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Juan Mata, who had an excellent all-around game, got Chelsea off to a great start by leveling the aggregate score in the 34th minute. He made an excellent long run through the center with the ball, then played a one-two exchange with Ramires before finishing with a shot that deflected off the underside of Steaua goalkeeper Ciprian Tataruasnu.

Steaua stunned Chelsea just before halftime with a set piece goal, and it was a bit of a lucky one. Torres slid to block an initial attempt, but couldn't clear the ball out of his own area. Vlad Chirlches pounced on the rebound and smashed the ball into the net to put Chelsea in a situation where they had to score twice.

Some very poor marking by the visitors gifted Chelsea their path back into the game in the 58th minute. On a corner kick by Mata, Terry lost his man completely and was left with a free header that he directed past Tataruasnu. Torres netted the winner 13 minutes later, capping off a nice move off a throw-in. Mata provided the pass that set up Torres, with Eden Hazard playing a dummy that caused the defense to hesitate. Torres did well to make a bit of space, then place a composed finish to the near post.

Torres had a penalty shout shortly afterwards, though it looked like he went down easily. With his apparent dive, he managed to hurt himself and ended up with a bloody nose for his trouble. Late in the game, Chelsea were granted a penalty, and there was no doubt about it. Eden Hazard was tripped up by Steaua captain Alexandru Bourceanu in the box, and Torres stepped up to take the spot kick. His attempt, a shot off the crossbar, was a perfect microcosm of his Chelsea career, despite his goal earlier in the game.

Despite the sour note that the game ended on for the Blues, they're through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League, and await Friday's draw.

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