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Chelsea falls to Rubin but advances on aggregate

Chelsea suffered a 3-2 defeat to Rubin Kazan in Europa League play on Thursday but still managed to advance to the semifinals behind a 5-4 aggregate score.

After claiming a 3-1 victory in the opening leg at Stamford Bridge last week, the Blues looked likely to cruise to a comfortable win at the Luzhniki Stadium when Fernando Torres latched on to a long ball in the fifth minute and sent a looping effort over the on-rushing Sergei Ryzhikov.

Chelsea held the one-goal lead until the 51st minute when Ivan Sierra Marcano rose high to head home a cross from the left flank, but the Blues answered four minutes later when Victor Moses capped a well-worked move to split the defense on the dribble and chip a shot over Ryzhikov.

Rubin made it interesting by netting two goals in the final half-hour. Gokdeniz Karadeniz equalized with a powerful header in the 62nd minute while Bebars Natcho converted a penalty kick 15 minutes from time, but Chelsea ultimately held on to the aggregate win to advance.

Basel made history on Thursday by reaching its first-ever semifinals of a European competition.

The Swiss side battled to a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in regulation as a Clint Dempsey brace was negated Mohamed Salah and Aleksander Dragovic.

Following a pair of scoreless periods of extra time, Tottenham fired a couple of blanks from the penalty spot as Yann Sommer denied Benoit Assou-Ekotto before Emmanuel Adebayor sent his attempt over the bar. Basel converted all four of its attempts to cruise past Spurs on penalties by a 4-1 count.

Fenerbahce ousted Lazio from European contention by a 3-1 aggregate score. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw at an empty Stadio Olimpico on Thursday as Senad Lulic and Caner Erkin exchanged second-half goals.

And finally, Benfica advanced to the Europa League semifinals with a 1-1 draw with Newcastle at Sports Direct Arena, sending the Portuguese side through with a 4-2 aggregate score. Papiss Demba Cisse opened the scoring in the second leg to give the Magpies a glimmer of hope, but Eduardo Salvio struck late to put Benfica's progression beyond any doubt.

The semifinal draw will be held Friday, April 12.

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