Torres brace leads Chelsea past Rubin Kazan

Fernando Torres scored twice at Stamford Bridge on Thursday to help Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Rubin Kazan in the opening leg of its Europa League quarterfinal tie.

Chelsea opened the scoring in the 16th minute when a perfectly-placed long ball from David Luiz was met by Torres. The Spanish striker was tightly marked but managed to wriggle free and capitalize on a fortuitous bounce to slip a shot past Sergei Ryzhikov.

The lead was doubled 16 minutes later when Victor Moses roofed a shot into the back of the net from the top of the penalty area.

The Blues appeared to be in cruise control until the 41st minute when Rubin Kazan was awarded a penalty kick. John Terry was whistled for an infraction after his outstretched arm blocked a shot, allowing Bebars Natcho to convert his ensuing attempt from the spot.

But Chelsea settled in the second period and restored its two-goal advantage 20 minutes from time when Torres sent Juan Mata's cross home with a powerful header.

The away goal gives Rubin Kazan a glimmer of hope as the Russian side will look to overturn the two-goal aggregate deficit in the return leg on April 11.

Two other English clubs were involved in Europa League action on Thursday.

Tottenham surrendered two first-half goals at White Hart Lane but answered back through Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson to salvage a 2-2 draw with Swiss side Basel.

Newcastle's fortunes were placed at the opposite end of the spectrum. Papiss Demba Cisse had given the Magpies the lead in the 12th minute, but goals from Rodrigo and Lima, as well as a penalty from Oscar Cardozo, handed Benfica a 3-1 home win.

And in Thursday's final Europa League quarterfinal, Fenerbahce made the most of Ogenyi Onazi's sending off in the 48th minute as Pierre Webo's 79th-minute penalty and Dirk Kuyt's stoppage-time goal gave the Turkish club a 2-0 home victory over 10-man Lazio.