Chelsea aim to move closer to treble of European titles

Blues take a two-goal advantage to Russia forthe quarter-final second leg clash against Rubin

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 April, 2013, 10:05am


Chelsea can take a step closer to becoming only the fourth side to win all three of Uefa's major club competitions by cementing a place in the Europa League semi-finals when they travel to Rubin Kazan today.

Only Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich can count Champions League, Cup-Winners' Cup and Uefa Cup triumphs among their list of honours, but Chelsea are well positioned to add their name to that elite group as they head to Russia with a 3-1 advantage from the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

"We have established a good lead. We know that the second leg will be difficult away from home, so it was important to get the victory and score three goals," said Brazilian midfielder Ramires.

We have established a good lead. We know that the second leg will be difficult away from home, so it was important to get the victory and score three goals
Brazilian midfielder Ramires

"Obviously we want to qualify for the Champions League but we don't want to forgo the trophies that we are chasing either," added the 26-year-old, sounding a slightly different tone to teammate John Mikel Obi after the Nigerian revealed his indifference towards Europe's second-tier competition.

"No disrespect to the Europa League ... but when you get that buzz, and you hear the Champions League song, it's different," Mikel admitted. "It has been kind of frustrating to watch [Champions League matches] - and we have to then play on Thursday night."

Chelsea's London rivals, Tottenham, face a significantly sterner challenge as they make the trip to Basel to face the Swiss league leaders with their last-eight tie evenly poised at 2-2 after Spurs recovered from a two-goal deficit at White Hart Lane last week.

Adding to Andre Villas-Boas' problems is the absence of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and William Gallas after the trio all sustained injuries in the first leg.

However, January arrival Lewis Holtby remained confident Tottenham could still secure their place in the last four. "We are good away from home, we have got some good results this season so we're still positive and our confidence is high," said the German international.

Benfica will go to Newcastle as the favourites to advance following a 3-1 victory in the Portuguese capital last time out.

Only twice have a side recovered from a two-goal, first-leg deficit in the knockout phase since it was rebranded four years ago, and while Newcastle are unbeaten in 13 European home fixtures they have only won by more than one goal on two occasions in that time.

A meagre return of 10 goals in 11 games since the start of this season's group stage doesn't bode well for the Magpies, but midfielder Yohan Cabaye is optimistic about his side's hopes.

"In front of our supporters, I'm sure we'll have chances. Now it's up to us to control the match well and play the 90 minutes right to the end to try to qualify," said the French international.

Lazio must overturn a 2-0 deficit in Rome if they are to make it through to the semis after Pierre Webo and Dirk Kuyt struck two late goals for Fenerbahce a week ago. However, the Italians will be forced to play in front of an empty Olympic Stadium after the club was sanctioned with a two-match stadium ban following crowd trouble in their last-32 tie against Germany's Borussia Moenchengladbach.