Europa League - Gareth Bale injured, Chelsea win, Spurs draw, Newcastle lose

How the action unfolded as Chelsea win, Tottenham draw and Newcastle lose in the Europa League quarter finals.

4 April 2013 Last updated at 22:47

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As it happened

  1. 2239: 

    I'm afraid it's time for me to sign off now, but make sure you stay tuned to the BBC Sport football page for all the latest news on Gareth Bale's injury. I'll be back on Saturday for some top action from the Premier League and Championship. Until then, goodnight.

  2.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Robert in London via 81111: "The inevitability that something is going to ruin Spurs' season is what hurts the most."

  3.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Fahad Khan: "Cap for Cech. Mask for Ba and Torres. Chelsea might as well be called the prop team."

    Shanmugaraja CK: "Being a Gunner, I still hope Bale is back to face Everton this Sunday! Good luck!"

  4. 2230: 
    CHELSEA REACTION- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea captain John Terry: "It was a good night, a good result but the tie is certainly not over. I was disappointed with the penalty. I didn't think it was a penalty. It's very important we got the third goal and it's unlucky we didn't get a fourth. It was a good second goal by Fernando (Torres) and hopefully it will give him a lot of confidence."

  5. 2228: 
    Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    There was some terrible defending on show from Newcastle tonight, but it could have been so different if Papiss Cisse had found the net early in the second half. Can the Magpies turn it around in the second leg?

  6.   
    Conor McNamara, BBC commentatorGARETH BALE UPDATE

    AVB on Bale: "He rolled on his ankle, at the moment there is a lot of pain, but hopefully not as bad as it could have been."

  7.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Ed in London via 81111: "There goes Tottenham's season! Right on schedule."

  8. 2223: 
    Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    I bet Fernando Torres wishes he had found that magic mask a bit earlier in the season after those two goals tonight. Misfiring strikers across the country will be dashing out to get one of their own before the weekend.

  9.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Fellows: "I think that's the end of Bale's season."

    Sho: "No Defoe, Bale or Lennon. Yet Spurs have to face Everton, Chelsea and City next. I'd say good luck but I'm an Arsenal fan."

  10. 2220: 
    NEWCASTLE REACTION- Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    Here's more from Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "Apart from 10 minutes at the end of the first half, I thought we were in control. It is an uphill challenge for us now.

    "The away goal could come into it if we get the first goal. They are a quality side, and we have to give them respect. We showed signs that if we are ambitious we can hurt a team."

  11. 2218: 
    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER UPDATE

    Mansfield passed up the chance to go to the top of the table, with Wrexham coming from behind to win 2-1 - narrowing the gap between themselves and the Stags, one place above them, to seven points. Dean Keates and Danny Wright were the men to overturn Matt Green's opener.

  12.   
    Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker

    "Good night for Torres. Think the mask might be here to stay."

  13.   
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

    "Injury to Bale the final straw on a sobering night for Spurs. Looked serious. Fingers crossed for a player who has graced this season."

  14. 2217: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel
    Gareth Bale injury

    There was immediate concern for Gareth Bale, who suffered the injury when his foot seemed to get stuck under the challenge of Basel's David Degan.

  15. 2212: 
    NEWCASTLE REACTION- Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "I thought we did so much right to get into a great position. We had taken the sting out of them, then we gifted them a goal.

    "I thought Steven Taylor was desperately unlucky for the penalty; it just was not to be. I cannot fault the players, it was a great effort. We came here to have a go at them."

  16. 2211: 
    CHELSEA REACTION- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez on Fernando Torres scoring twice: "It is good for his confidence but his work-rate was also really good so I am really pleased for him. He trains really well every day so it was just a question of time. He scored two today and hopefully it will be the same in the next game."

  17.  
    GET INVOLVED

    DC in London, via text on 81111: "Bale, Defoe and Lennon in a week! The life of a Spurs fan is tortured!"

  18. 2209: 
    CHELSEA REACTION- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez: "It could be better but I can't change things now. The penalty was harsh but you cannot change these decisions, so you have to carry on and score a third goal, we did that but I was expecting a fourth goal.

    "It has to be more difficult (in the second leg) because they will be attacking and attacking but we have quality in our team."

  19.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Scott McGrory: "Spurs to play Vertonghen centre forward next game due to Bale's injury?"

    Paolo Fiorilli: "Looks like there's gonna be no Bale, no Lennon and no Defoe this weekend. Bye bye Champions League?"

    Mark Notley: "‏Time for Spurs to prove that they aren't a one man team if it is serious. Hope for a speedy recovery."

  20. 2208: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    We're still waiting for news on Gareth Bale's injury. As soon as we hear anything, we'll let you know. It's certainly a worrying time for Spurs supporters.

  21. 2204: 
    SPURS REACTION- Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel: "We came back from 2-0 down and we will take encouragement from that but we did not start the game well and the gaffer had words with us at half-time.

    "We've got a lot of quality in our squad and we hope we can go out and get a win out there (in Switzerland)."

  22. 2203: 
    FULL-TIME- Fenerbahce 2-0 Lazio

    All over in Istanbul, Dirk Kuyt's late goal giving the Turkish side a decent advantage going into the second leg in Rome next week. Lazio were down to 10 men for most of the second half, with Onazi getting sent off after 47 minutes.

  23.   
    Gary Lineker, BBC Sport

    "Fear that's the end of Bale's season. Very much hope I'm wrong!"

  24. 2158: 
    GOAL- Fenerbahce 2-0 Lazio - Dirk Kuyt (90 mins)

    Ex-Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt gives the Turkish side a healthy lead to take to Italy in the second leg.

  25.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Charlie, from Radley, via text on 81111: "Worrying injury to Gareth Bale, how will Spurs cope without him?!"

  26. 2157: 
    FULL-TIME- Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    A disappointing result for Spurs, but there could be bigger problems if Gareth Bale has suffered a serious injury.

  27. 2157:  
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonFULL-TIME- Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    "It was a really strange game - when Sissoko and Cisse got their act together, Cisse could have scored four. But by the end it could have been four or five to Benfica."

  28. 2156: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Gareth Bale is stretchered off and there is concern on the faces of all around him. Fingers crossed it's not as bad as it immediately looks.

  29. 2156: 
    FULL-TIME- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea have done the business and look on course for the semi-finals.

  30. 2154: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Worrying scenes at White Hart Lane as Gareth Bale goes over on his ankle and is left clutching his leg in pain on the turf. It was a horrible-looking injury and it doesn't look good for the Welsh winger.

  31.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonBenfica 3-1 Newcastle

    "Benfica are used to this - keeping the ball comfortably and winning at home, they do that pretty much every week."

  32.  
    GET INVOLVED

    JP Dumas: "Has to be said, shocking performance by NUFC Terrible passing all round. Can only focus on the league now. Might be a blessing"

  33. 2151: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Did you know that Spurs have not won a game without a Gareth Bale goal since New Year's Day? You do now.

  34.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Adam Nash: "Aaron Lennon needs to watch the tape of Salah's performance tonight for a lesson in wing play. Been a handful all game."

  35. 2150: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    William Gallas is forced from the field with injury meaning Spurs, who have used up all their substitutions, are down to 10 men for the final two minutes of the match.

  36. 2149: 
    Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    There are chants of "Mourinho" echoing around Stamford Bridge as we enter the last few minutes. Imagine the scenes if the Special One was to return.

  37. 2148: 
    GOAL- Fenerbahce 1-0 Lazio - Webo (79 mins)

    Webo puts the Turkish side ahead from the penalty spot with 11 minutes left after Lazio were reduced to 10 men when Onazi was sent off early in the second half.

  38. 2147: 
    Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea supporters have certainly cheered a lot of goals this season. Their three strikes tonight takes their total in all competitions to 121.

  39. 2145: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Yet another chance for Basel, with Mohamed Elneny firing over the bar from the edge of the area.

  40.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonBenfica 3-1 Newcastle
  41. 2144: 
    Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    Newcastle are just hoping to get to the second leg without any further damage now as Nicolas Gaitan takes two shots at goal but the second attempt is saved by Tim Krul.

  42. 2141: 
    FINAL 10 MINUTES- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea are in command at Stamford Bridge, looking to close the match out as we enter the final 10 minutes. It's been another accomplished display tonight.

  43.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Dan, via text on 81111: "Newcastle have given Benfica a semi-final place - terrible finishing and terrible defending- again!"

  44. 2140: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Markus Steinhofer manages to pick out Jacques Zoua but the substitute shoots wide. Basel continue to attack Spurs.

  45.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Quabena Kwarteng: "I'm wearing a mask to school tomorrow. Maybe my maths will improve too."

  46. 2138: 
    Benfica 3-1 Newcastle

    The whole of Newcastle groans as Papiss Cisse receives the ball in a good position but, while trying to pass to Moussa Sissoko, he picks out a Benfica defender.

  47.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Rich from Cirencester, via text on 81111: "Here comes the 'Torres is now back in form' comments from Chelsea fans, there is a long way to go to bring him back to the standard he played at Liverpool. Two goals in the Europa League is nothing special."

    Chelsea striker Fernando Torres
  48. 2136: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    The Spurs supporters are getting restless as their team struggles to stop Basel from probing away at their defence. Is there a late goal in this one?

  49.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonBenfica 3-1 Newcastle

    "Absolute penalty. No argument from Newcastle, you cannot argue against that one.

    "It was a perfect penalty, but don't forget the pressure Cardozo was under. That stupid backpass from Santon has heaped the pressure on Newcastle, I wouldn't be surprised if they conceded another."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  50. 2132: 
    GOAL- Benfica 3-1 Newcastle - Oscar Cardozo (71 mins)

    Oscar Cardozo is made to take the penalty twice, but both times he cooly beats Tim Krul. Newcastle are really struggling now.

  51. 2131: 
    GOAL- Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan - Fernando Torres (70 mins)

    Daylight for Chelsea as Fernando Torres - seven yards out - heads home a superb cross from Juan Mata. A goal made in Spain.

  52. 2131: 
    PENALTY FOR BENFICA- Benfica 2-1 Newcastle

    A Steven Taylor handball is punished with a penalty kick.

  53.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonBenfica 2-1 Newcastle

    "We said earlier about Santon being a good footballer but a poor defender, and he made a really bad decision. It's the worst possible situation for Newcastle with 25 minutes left, they need to hang on."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  54. 2127: 
    Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Quite remarkable swerve from Valentin Stocker's free-kick, the ball bent like a boomerang and Brad Friedel had to make a sharp save.

  55. 2127: 
    GOAL- Benfica 2-1 Newcastle - Lima (65 mins)

    Oh no. Davide Santon plays a lazy backpass towards goal and Lima latches on to the ball and rolls it past Tim Krul. A terrible mistake.

  56.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Beninho: "Vertonghen is lucky he can score lots of goals to cover up his very average defensive performances."

  57. 2126: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan

    Rubin Kazan almost catch Chelsea on the break but Jose Rondon fires straight into the grateful arms of Petr Cech. A tame effort. Chelsea bring on Eden Hazard for Victor Moses.

  58. 2125: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Scott Parker to Lewis Holtby, whose low strike is just wide. Immediately afterwards Holtby makes way for Clint Dempsey. Andre Villas-Boas has been nothing if not decisive with his three changes.

  59.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Liam, Preston, via text on 81111: "All the hype that surrounded Sylvain Marveaux has died down. He looks like a poor man's Ben Arfa to me."

  60. 2125: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    In one of two changes for Benfica, Lima, who scored a hat-trick at the weekend, is brought on for Rodrigo. Newcastle might be pleased to see the back of the former Bolton winger - he's played well tonight.

  61.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Andy McHale: "Come on Spurs! That is why you should shoot more! Bit of luck, but you don't get luck if you don't try!"

  62. 2123: 
    CLOSE!- Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel

    Basel almost go up the other end and retake the lead when Mohamed Salah surges past Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson, but he puts his shot into Row Z. We've hit the hour mark in all of our matches.

  63.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson

    "Benfica are unlucky, when the ball was played to Cardozo he was starting to stumble and fall. If he stayed on his feet, it was 2-1 to Benfica."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  64. 2121: 
    Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan

    The Blues continue to do all the pressing and Fernando Torres's dangerous cross from the left is put out for a corner. From the centre, John Terry bundles the ball over the bar.

  65. 2120: 
    GOAL- Tottenham 2-2 FC Basel - Gylfi Sigurdsson (58 mins)

    Michael Dawson has just come on for Benoit Assou-Ekotto - but it is another Spurs sub who has drawn the London club level. Gylfi Sigurdsson cuts in from the left and lets fly from more than 20 yards, his strike taking a telling slight deflection off Fabian Schar.

  66. 2119: 
    WHAT A MISS- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    Benfica's supporters are in disbelief as Rodrigo robs Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and the winger's perfect ball to Oscar Cardozo is poked wide by the big striker with the goal at his mercy.

  67. 2117: 
    GREAT SAVE!- Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel

    Brad Friedel has got through some work tonight - this time making a smart, low stop from Mohamed Salah after the Basel winger raced past Jan Vertonghen. He's a good player, Salah. At the other end, Kyle Naughton's shot is palmed clear by Yann Sommer.

  68.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mike the Manc, via text on 81111: "Cisse's favourite subject at school - Woodwork!"

  69.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Jamie Hardesty: "It's criminal that Obertan has previously kept Marveaux out of the team. He makes Cisse 10 times better!"

  70. 2114: 
    Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel

    The Gareth Bale centre-forward experiment is not working for Spurs so far, who miss the Welshman's width. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby don't pose the same threat as Bale and Aaron Lennon.

  71.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonBenfica 1-1 Newcastle

    "Santon worries me, he's good going forward but I think he's a poor defender. He gets into bad situations."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  72. 2112: 
    GREAT SAVE!- Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea continue to search for a third goal and Sergei Ryzhikov makes a good save from Juan Mata's shot before Vitali Kaleshin scrambles the ball clear.

  73.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson

    "Great move, good play by Gutierrez into Marveaux, who released at perfect time, but I thought Cisse could have taken it round the keeper and stroked it in."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  74. 2111: 
    Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel

    A bit of a reshuffle for Spurs at the break, with Lewis Holtby switching to the right. David Ginola is in the crowd at the Lane - looking as cool as ever.

  75.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Pete Woodward: "Newcastle with the best half time score of all British sides. Will be difficult to stay the same for full time though."

  76. 2109: 
    HITS THE WOODWORK- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    Newcastle nearly do it again. Sylvain Marveaux plays in Papiss Cisse and the striker's chipped shot beats the keeper but comes back off the post. So, so close.

  77. 2108: 
    Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan

    I'm always intrigued by the squad numbering system at some clubs. Tonight, Rubin have a number 55, 61, 66, 76 and 99. Whatever happened to craving the number nine shirt?

  78. 2107: 
    KICK-OFF

    I just hope we have the same flurry of goals and excitement in the second half. We are back under way in all four of our matches...

  79.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matthew Vins: "You can see why Spurs are interested in Benteke, hands off though!"

  80. 2103: 
    Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan
    Bebras Natcho scores for Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea were cruising before the award of that penalty which halved their lead. At least Fernando is finding some form underneath that mask...

  81. 2100: 
    HALF-TIME

    It's 0-0 between Wrexham and Mansfield in a vital, top-of-the-table clash and as it stands Mansfield will move above Kidderminster and go first.

  82. 2058: 

    What did we make of all that then? I have been mightily impressed by FC Basel - they still have that spark from last season which saw them qualify ahead of Manchester United in the group stages of last season's Champions League.

  83. 2057: 
    HALF-TIME- Fenerbahce 0-0 Lazio

    BBC Sport's Tim Oscroft: "The goals have been flying in during the first half in the Europa League....except in Istanbul, where it's 0-0 between Fenerbahce and Lazio. Fenerbahce's Moussa Sow rattled the post after 17 minutes, but apart from that and two bookings handed out by Scottish referee William Collum there's been little to shout about."

  84. 2056: 

    So that's eight goals in three matches involving English clubs in the Europa League this evening. It's quickly becoming my favourite competition...

  85.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Gray: "Wow Parker..even Torres in his renewed form would have scored that."

  86. 2051: 
    HALF-TIME- Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel
    Valentin Stocker celebrates scoring for Basel

    BBC Sport's David Ornstein: "Basel score twice in five minutes stun White Hart Lane, but Tottenham haul themselves back into contention shortly before the break. A breathless, pulsating half and a superb advert for Europe's secondary club competition."

  87.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:

    "Newcastle are looking a bit shabby at the moment. They were in a good position, but one or two sloppy passes were put in and Benfica are now dominating."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  88. 2051: 
    HALF-TIME- Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan

    BBC Sport's Neil Johnston: "Bebras Natcho's penalty has changed the complexion of the tie and Chelsea, who were cruising at one stage, have it all to do in the second half if they are to avoid an awkward trip to Russia next week."

  89. 2051:  
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonHALF-TIME- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle
    Rodrigo Machado celebrates scoring for Benfica

    "Papiss Cisse quite easily could have had a hat-trick, he had outstanding chances. Tim Krul's then has had to make all sort of saves and Newcastle are a bit lucky to go in 1-1.

    "In the second half they must get Moussa Sissoko and Cisse back in unison, as they created havoc with their simple football at the beginning."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  90.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Sam Robson: " Goals for both Torres and Adebayor, in the same night? What is going on with the world?"

  91. 2049: 
    CLOSE!- Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel

    Spurs almost draw level when Lewis Holtby's effort is saved at the feet of the keeper and Scott Parker's follow-up shot from 10 yards hits Holtby on the floor and trickles agonisingly wide of an empty net. At first glance it looked like the miss of the season by Parker, but replays showed the deflection.

    At the other end, Brad Friedel is called into action again to deny Mohamed Salah.

  92.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mike the Manc, via text on 81111: "Ref. Neil, York - How about 'Basel Brush Spurs Aside'"

  93. 2046: 
    GOAL- Chelsea 2-1 Rubin Kazan - Bebras Natcho (41 mins)

    Bebras Natcho steps up and confidently sends Petr Cech the wrong way. Rubin Kazan are back in the tie.

  94. 2045: 
    PENALTY FOR RUBIN KAZAN- Chelsea 2-0 Rubin Kazan

    John Terry handles Cristian Ansaldi's shot and the ref points to the spot.

  95. 2046: 
    GOAL- Tottenham 1-2 FC Basel - Emmanuel Adebayor (40 mins)

    Emmanuel Adebayor rather scuffs his first attempt, but no worries. The ball drops to Scott Parker, who in turn scuffs his shot. Spurs, in desperate need of something in this game, get a lucky break as the ball drops to Adebayor, the Togolese making no mistake this time and slotting home from six yards.

  96.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Jonnie Horden: "Wow, European goal frenzy. Who said the Europa League was dull? Actually, I've said that quite a lot."

    Death To Mr Wilde!: "Tottenham are doing their best to fulfil the fans' dreams of not winning the Europa League..."

    James Jardine: "Tottenham are going to have to hope the Swiss guard abandon their duties in the second half!"

  97. 2043: 
    CLOSE!- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    Goalscorer Rodrigo is repeatedly finding pockets of space in the Newcastle area, and the striker should have grabbed his second as he steers Nicolas Gaitan's cross into the arms of Tim Krul when well placed.

  98. 2042: 
    CLOSE!- Tottenham 0-2 FC Basel

    Basel are running riot here as Marco Streller gets clear but his dinked effort rolls wide of the post. Tottenham need to regroup.

  99.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Neil, York, via text on 81111: "I want either a Spurs hammering or a shock defeat so tomorrow's headline can be 'Basel Faulty'"

  100. 2039: 
    GOAL- Tottenham 0-2 FC Basel - Fabian Frei (35 mins)

    More misery for Spurs, and it's down to bad defending once again. Jan Vertonghen, stationed at the near post, can only deflect a corner into the path of Fabian Frei, who heads home completely unmarked.

  101.  
    GET INVOLVED

    James Jardine: "Like a blinkered racehorse Torres has finally found focus"

    Paul Thompson: "Tim Krul has just shown what Newcastle have missed between the sticks in his absence. Brilliant double save. What a game!"

    Nic Billot: "Moussa Dembele has got to be one of the most under-rated players. He's so composed yet silky with the ball. Top player."

  102. 2037: 
    GOAL- Chelsea 2-0 Rubin Kazan - Victor Moses (32 mins)

    A superb finish from Victor Moses, who really lashes the ball home from 16 yards on the half volley after Rubin Kazan waste several chances to clear their lines. Chelsea in control.

  103. 2035: 
    GOAL- Tottenham 0-1 FC Basel - Valentin Stocker (30 mins)

    A deserved lead for Basel when Mohamed Salah puts in a cross from the right, which is turned on to the post by Marco Streller after a neat turn. Valentin Stocker is on hand to put the rebound into an empty net. White Hart Lane is stunned.

  104. 2035: 
    Chelsea 1-0 Rubin Kazan

    Very few chances in the last five minutes, but Chelsea continue to knock the ball about confidently and appear in control. We're coming up to the half hour mark in all of our matches.

  105.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Don McCarthy: "Torres scoring and Newcastle scoring an away goal all in the same night? Odds on that please, bookie!"

    Zahra: "Torres scored..I thought April 1st was a few days ago??"

  106. 2034: 
    GREAT SAVE!- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    Tim Krul makes amends with a fine double save from Andre Gomes and Ola John before Newcastle scramble the ball clear.

  107.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Kanayo Umeogu: "That's not Torres in a Mask. Looks more like Ronaldo to me."

    Peter Ekirapa: "Torres should be donning that mask more often"

    Jamie Hardesty: "So far so good from Newcastle. This is our year. End the trophy drought and Sunderland go down"

  108. 2032: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    Very close to an opener for Spurs as Kyle Naughton smashes the ball goalwards from long range after a corner is half cleared. His effort is deflected narrowly wide for a corner.

  109.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:Benfica 1-1 Newcastle

    "If Rodrigo could react so quick to Tim Krul's save, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will be asking why couldn't his defence?"

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  110. 2031: 
    GOAL- Benfica 1-1 Newcastle - Rodrigo (25 mins)

    Tim Krul has looked a little rusty on his return to the Newcastle side and he can only parry Oscar Cardozo's powerful shot into the path of ex-Bolton forward Rodrigo who bundles the ball home.

  111. 2030:  
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:Benfica 0-1 Newcastle

    "Every time Newcastle get the ball, Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus is very scared about Papiss Cisse's movement."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  112. 2030: 
    HITS THE WOODWORK- Benfica 0-1 Newcastle

    Newcastle keep catching Benfica on the break, with Jonas Gutierrez getting free down the left and Papiss Cisse's shot taking a deflection off Ezequiel Garay and hitting the post before being smothered by goalkeeper Artur.

  113.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Duncan, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "Has Rafa pulled a classic switcheroo and hidden a decent player behind that mask whilst Torres is locked in the dressing room?"

  114. 2029: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    A forced change for Spurs as Aaron Lennon, who has injured his right leg, is replaced by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

  115.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Henry: "Batman... er... Torres scores! Are we sure that's him under the mask? Isn't he past his goal scoring limit already?"

  116. 2026: 
    Chelsea 1-0 Rubin Kazan

    Rubin Kazan's Bebras Natcho tries his luck from 30 yards but his shot is gathered by a smiling Petr Cech. At the other end, Ryan Bertrand skips past a couple of challenges but the chance comes to nothing. Promising from both sides.

  117. 2025: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    Another chance for Spurs, with Lewis Holtby playing a nice ball into Gareth Bale but the forward drags his shot wide.

  118.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Liam Sharpe: "You can't physically buy an away goal, but an £18m fuelled French Revolution transfer window certainly helps! Vive le Toon"

  119. 2022: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    Spurs win a free-kick in a dangerous position after a foul on Mousa Dembele. Gareth Bale - who else - strikes the ball low with his left foot but it lacks power and is easily saved.

  120. 2021: 
    GOAL- Chelsea 1-0 Rubin Kazan - Fernando Torres (16 mins)

    Maybe the mask is working for Fernando Torres and Chelsea. David Luiz plays an angled pass forward from the centre circle and the Spanish striker gets in front of his marker to stab the ball home.

  121. 2020: 
    Benfica 0-1 Newcastle

    Newcastle winning in the Stadium of Light. Whether it's Lisbon or Sunderland, that's music to the ears of all Newcastle fans.

  122. 2020: 
    Chelsea 0-0 Rubin Kazan
    Chelsea trio Ryan Bertrand (left), Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun

    Great skill by Juan Mata as he dribbles his way into the Ruban penalty area before losing control, Ramires drilling the loose ball high over the bar. Then Fernando Torres fires wide from 20 yards. Chelsea are trying to lift their fans, one of whom is wearing a Jose Mourinho face mask.

  123.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Kesh, a Swiss in London, via text on 81111: "Proudly wearing my FC Basel top while surrounded by Spurs fans and am loving this start!"

  124.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:Benfica 0-1 Newcastle

    "It is a classic European away goal. Moussa Sissoko showed great pace down the right, and he put in a perfect cross for Papiss Cisse to bundle in."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  125. 2019: 
    GOAL- Benfica 0-1 Newcastle - Papiss Cisse (13 mins)

    The Stadium of Light erupts to the sound of 3,500 cheering Geordies as Moussa Sissoko whips in a cross from the right and Papiss Cisse slots home at the far post. Quality stuff.

  126.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:

    "There is a definite plan here from Newcastle who keep trying to play the ball over the Benfica defence, who are playing a high line."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  127. 2017: 
    CLOSE!- Benfica 0-0 Newcastle

    Benfica are beginning to pass the ball about well now and Argentina international Nicolas Gaitan fires in a shot from 35 yards which is fumbled by Tim Krul but gathered at the second attempt.

  128.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mark Clarke: "Chelsea & Benfica representing all that is left the CLFB (Champions League Failure Brigade) tonight"

  129. 2017: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    Another two shots in quick succession for Basel, first Brad Friedel denies Marco Streller, who seconds later later crosses for Markus Steinhofer to volley over the crossbar.

  130. 2014: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    As expected, Gareth Bale has started up front for Spurs. I'm interested to see how that little experiment goes - I'm sure he could play almost anywhere with his talent. Basel have the first chance of the match when Fabian Schar stings the palms of Brad Friedel.

  131.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Hishaam Habib: "I prefer Bale on the left. Holtby needs to be behind the striker"

  132.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Joe Mercer's Way: "Balmy 8 degrees C in Lisbon tonight, Geordies definitely with the right dress code."

  133. 2012: 
    Chelsea 0-0 Rubin Kazan

    Chelsea are doing all the pressing but there's been no clear-cut chances yet. On the sidelines, the Rubin Kazan manager is clutching prayer beads.

  134.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tony, Newcastle, via text on 81111: "I can only see another thumping, we're terrible away from home hence our league position."

  135. 2011: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    William Gallas provides Spurs with a brief moment of alarm when he goes down in a heap after making a challenge. Steven Caulker begins to warm up, but he's not needed. The brave Frenchman is going to solider on.

  136.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:

    "Papiss Cisse's first touch was awful there, he was through on goal and should have scored."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  137. 2010: 
    Tottenham 0-0 FC Basel

    Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas speaking prior to kick-off on ITV: "We want to continue in this competition and go all the way to final, at this stage every team dreams of winning a trophy. Basel will be filled with the same ambition and motivation as us. It's always difficult to reach this stage; any single mistake can be punished. He [Holtby] has been training well, so we decided to give him the opportunity tonight. Hopefully we'll see again his quality and the reason we bought him. It's a gradual introduction into the team and hopefully he will produce some magic tonight. We'll continue with two strikers and Holtby on the left."

  138. 2009: 
    Benfica 0-0 Newcastle

    Newcastle have started brightly with Sylvain Marveaux pinging a ball through for Papiss Cisse but the striker miscontrols and another chance goes begging.

  139.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Chris Clarke, Belfast, via text 81111: "JT player manager next season. He's got the respect of all the players, why not let him have a crack?"

  140. 2007: 
    Benfica 0-0 Newcastle

    An early chance for Newcastle, with Papiss Cisse getting clear and firing a shot straight at the keeper. A tame effort.

  141.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:

    "At one stage, the eagle, a Benfica mascot, came very close to us. It did seem to hover a long time near the Newcastle supporters, it was almost taunting them."

    Listen to commentary of Benfica v Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  142. 2006: 
    Benfica 0-0 Newcastle

    I'm trying to work out what the weather is like in Portugal tonight. The home fans are all wrapped up while many Newcastle supporters have decided to go topless. I think the Benfica fans might have made the correct decision.

  143. 2006: 
    KICK-OFF

    We are under way in all four of our Europa League matches.

  144. 2002: 
    Papiss Cisse

    Forget about Lionel, Zlatan and Mesut, tonight's about Gareth, Papiss and Fernando. A little bit of magic from Bale, Cisse and Torres tonight and all three English clubs left in the Europa League quarter-finals can continue to dream about their night of glory in the Amsterdam Arena on 15 May. It's games like tonight when terrace heroes become club legends. The players are making their way to the pitch in all three matches. Let's be topical. Let's get ready to rumble.

  145. 2001: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    As the players gather in the tunnel, the Stamford Bridge sprinkler man has got a real soaking when trying to turn off the tap. An unfortunate start to a very cold night in the capital.

  146. 2000: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    It's absolutely rocking in the Stadium of Light - Newcastle fans trying to shout louder than a bloke on a loud-speaker. It's a draw at the moment.

  147.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Steff Morgan: "So much faith being put into Adebayor. He must pay AVB back soon surely?"

  148.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonChelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    "My money is on Jose Mourinho to come back to Chelsea. I think he will need a few new players to get them back to the top of the table, but you know in negotiations he will be saying 'I want him, him, him, him and him, plus total control' and he might just get it.

    Listen to the build-up to the night's Europa League action on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  149.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Paren: "Great opportunity to try Dempsey/Bale combination upfront missed by AVB "

  150. 1958: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez: "Beating Manchester United has given us a big boost because they are top of the table. But it will be totally different against Rubin Kazan. They are very well organised and they are very good on the counter attack."

  151.  
    GET INVOLVED

    David Ljunggren: "Let's not delude ourselves. If Newcastle manage to scrape a draw in Benfica they'll have done well. I can see us losing 2-1"

  152. 1956: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    Chelsea might also have to deal with an inspired Rubin Kazan side tonight. "I have very high hopes for this game," said the Russian club's manager Kurban Berdyev. "Rubin don't play such big teams every day and we can't wait for the game to happen.

    "I have been to Chelsea before as a guest of Mr Abramovich and I remember looking at the stadium hoping that one day I could bring my team here. This game will create history for Rubin - and we've got used to not being favourites."

  153. 1954: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    Chelsea will be hoping to prevent Rubin Kazan from picking up a nice little record over the two legs. The Russians could become the first team in history to eliminate both the reigning Champions League winners (Chelsea) and the reigning Europa League winners (Atletico Madrid) in a single season.

  154.   
    BBC Radio 5 live's Mark LawrensonTottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    "There is massive pressure on Bale, but he is going through a stage in his career where it will not affect him at all.

    "His goal against Swansea was absolutely brilliant yet again, and it is the 'Bale show' every week."

    Listen to the build-up to the night's Europa League action on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  155.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Cartwright: "Adebayor up front again. Will today be the day he comes good?"

  156. 1951: 
    Fenerbahce v Lazio (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Tim Oscroft: "Fenerbahce have previously reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League (2007-08) and the European Cup-Winners' Cup (1963-64) without progressing to the next stage. Lazio last appeared in a European quarter-final in 2002-03, when they beat Besiktas in the UEFA Cup.

    "The Italian side boast the Europa League's top scorer this season in Libor Kozak, who has eight goals from eight games so far, and they are the highest scoring side left in the competition with 19 goals since the start of the group stage. Fenerbahce's only defeat at home in Europe this season, 3-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach in December, came after they had already qualified as winners of Group C."

  157. 1950: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Neil Johnston: "It is a top-four finish and a place in next season's Champions League that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants more than anything else. But that will not stop Rafael Benitez from sending out a strong side as the Spaniard looks to reach another European final, albeit the second-tier Europa League. The Blues might be feeling the strain as they prepare for game number 54 of the season, and their third in little over 120 hours."

  158.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matthew Reast: "Massive night for Mansfield as victory tonight for the Stags will set a Conference record THIRTEEN straight wins"

  159. 1949: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Matt Monaghan: "Fresh from a 4-0 Premier League mauling by Manchester City, life does not get any easier for struggling Newcastle. The Portuguese league leaders have scored more than 100 goals in all competitions this season, with their only defeat at the Estadio da Luz coming at the hands of Barcelona.

    "When Newcastle last reached this stage of the cup they were defeated by Benfica's rivals Sporting Lisbon in 2005, a repeat result might not be the worst of manager Alan Pardew's worries."

  160. 1948: 
    Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's David Ornstein: "They may be fighting tooth and nail to qualify for next season's Champions League, but tonight Tottenham's sole focus is the Europa League and their pursuit of a third title in Europe's secondary club competition. Spurs host a Basel side who have not won in six European away games, but they are the only reigning domestic champions left in the competition and have pedigree against big-name clubs - just ask Manchester United."

  161.   
    Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson at Estadio da Luz:Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    "Newcastle were worried about staying in the Premier League, I am sure they are going to be fine, so I think they will be competitive tonight.

    "I am one of those, that if you win games, it can inspire you for the rest of the season."

    Listen to the build-up to the night's Europa League action on BBC Radio 5 live now.

  162.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Chelsea fans are sending in their suggestions for the next occupant of the Stamford Bridge hotseat:

    Eleanor: "Has to be Mourinho, other than that I would like an English manager - David Moyes fits the bill"

    Don Bellucci: "Klopp or Jupp Heynckes ahead of Jose because Mourinho won't stay long. Those are my long term coaches. I'll love to see AVB back too"

    Elliot Soards: "Mourinho clearly wants to go to united, we all saw the interview after the match."

  163. 1943: 
    Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    This could turn into a special season for Spurs supporters, with the team well placed to return to the Champions League and also still in the mix for a European trophy.

    "Could this squad compete in the Champions League? I think so," said AVB. "We are at an extremely good level but to play in the Champions League, alongside competing in the Premier League, is a step even further.

    "It probably means we would have to strengthen the squad but we have great belief in the players and what they have done."

  164. 1938: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    Alan Pardew has been chatting to Celtic manager Neil Lennon this week, after the Hoops earned a 0-0 draw at Parkhead earlier this season.

    "I think it is important to get as much information as you can," said Pardew. "We have good contacts regarding this team. I know this city quite well and I have some contacts here who know Benfica well. There is also Neil Lennon who we have been in contact with."

  165.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Ricky Stephens: "After not winning a trophy for 44 years, the Europa League would be my priority."

  166. 1936: 
    TEAM NEWS- Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Neil Johnston: "Goalkeeper Petr Cech and full-back Cesar Azpilicueta are starting their third games inside a week as Chelsea approach the business end of the season. And there will be little chance of a rest in the near future. After Sunderland's visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the Blues travel to Russia for next Thursday's second leg against Rubin Kazan before a date at Wembley against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on 14 April."

  167. 1935: 
    TEAM NEWS- Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Matt Monaghan: "Newcastle manager Alan Pardew makes four changes from the team that was heavily beaten by Manchester City at the weekend. The 51-year-old will be pleased to welcome back goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Davide Santon as the duo return from injury absences, with his team at the Estadio da Luz also including James Perch and Sylvain Marveaux.

    "Benfica counterpart Jorge Jesus also makes the same number of changes following the 6-1 thumping of Rio Ave on Saturday. Lima scored a hat-trick in that game but he makes way for highly-rated Paraguay international striker Oscar Cardozo, with right-back Andre Almeida, centre-midfielder Andre Gomes and winger Ola John also coming in.

  168.  
    GET INVOLVED

    John in Byker, via text on 81111: "As a Newcastle fan, I'd rather see the Mackems get relegated, than win in Europe. Top Dogs we shall remain."

  169. 1931: 

    Some breaking news from Spain, where Barcelona have filed a formal complaint with Uefa about the refereeing of Wolfgang Stark in Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw at Paris St Germain.

    Barca were incensed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal to make it 1-1 in the 79th minute of the quarter-final first leg in Paris was allowed to stand when the Swede was seemingly in an offside position.

  170. 1929: 
    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER

    It is not only a big night of action in the Europa League, there's also an important game in the Blue Square Bet Conference Premier as fourth-placed Wrexham entertain second from top Mansfield. Should the Stags win then they will go two points clear at the top of the table with five games remaining.

  171.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Here's more from Newcastle supporters:

    Neil Robinson: "2 wins see us safe might as well enjoy Europe while we have it."

    David Paterson: "Hopefully a continued Europa run will continue to breed confidence & feel good factor - more hunger for places if run goes on?"

    Jake Potter: "We'll stay up, no doubt about that. 100% tonight is all we can ask for especially after the weekend."

  172.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Newcastle fans - Premier League safety over the Europa League trophy in the display cabinet?

    Tom in Morpeth, via text on 81111: "Would much rather win the Europa League than stay up - we just need a trophy to lift everything and we can cope with relegation if we have to."

  173. 1926: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    Apart from the odd dodgy goatee, I struggle to get too upset about Alan Pardew. However, he has not been making too many friends in Portugal this week after suggesting Benfica would only finish eighth at best if they played in the Premier League.

    Benfica boss Jorge Jesus hit back: "In terms of budget maybe yes, we'd be between eight and 10th. But not in quality.

    "We've been in the Champions League - and Newcastle haven't been doing much of that. Even last year we eliminated Manchester United."

  174. 1923: 
    TEAM NEWS- Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's David Ornstein: "It looks like Gareth Bale could be starting up front with Emmanuel Adebayor in a Tottenham team featuring three changes from Saturday's win at Swansea. Out go Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker and Gylfi Sigurdsson; in come William Gallas, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Lewis Holtby. Basel are without suspended full-backs Park Joo Ho and Philipp Degen, as well as midfielder Marcelo Diaz, while midfielder Cabral is only fit enough to make the bench. They are led by Marco Streller."

  175.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Plenty of opinion from Chelsea fans after we asked who they would like to see as their next manager.

    Deano: "I'd welcome Mourinho back with open arms. But if not then I'd say get Gus Poyet in."

    Nav Uppal: "It's gotta be the special one Jose Mourinho, he's the only manager who can be consistent"

    Nick Cooke: "Hiddink, Mourinho or an ex-Chelsea player will be the only choices I think Roman has to get backing from fans."

  176. 1920: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    Former Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee sampled some special European nights during his time as a player, and he is hoping the Class of 2013 can create a few more great memories.

    "The players have to grasp what is in front of them and the key here tonight is to keep the dream alive for the second leg," he told the Newcastle Chronicle. "Every European game at St James' Park gives you a chance - but United need to give themselves a big chance.

    "Seeing us in that final in Holland would be great for the fans. They won't have seen anything like 40,000 Geordies taking over Amsterdam."

  177. 1919: 
    LINE-UPS- Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    Tottenham: Friedel, Naughton, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Bale, Holtby, Adebayor. Subs: Lloris, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Dawson, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Caulker.

    Basel: Sommer, Steinhofer, Schar, Dragovic, Voser, El-Nenny, Die, Salah, Fabian Frei, Stocker, Streller. Subs: Vailati, Ajeti, David Degen, Alexander Frei, Cabral, Sauro, Zoua.

    Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

  178. 1918: 
    LINE-UPS- Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Luiz, Bertrand, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Benayoun, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Oscar, Mikel, Hazard, Ferreira, Marin.

    Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov, Cesar Navas, Kuzmin, Kaleshin, Ansaldi, Sharonov, Orbaiz, Roman Eremenko, Karadeniz, Natcho, Dyadyun. Subs: Arlauskis, Ryazantsev, Kasaev, Kisliak, Marcano, Tore, Rondon.

    Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

  179.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Spurs fans are having their say over a Champions League place versus Europa League glory - can they have both?

    Christopher York: "If we want to hold on to Bale, Top 4 has to take priority over Europa & finishing above Arsenal would be special."

    Tracey Taylor: " ‏Winning a trophy any day. Top 4 and champions league very nice but always want silverware. Ask the Gooners!!"

    Lewis Butterfield: "Definitely top 4. Winning the Europa would be brilliant but it doesn't allow you to attract top players or play in CL"

  180. 1916: 
    Benfica v Newcastle (2005 BST)

    The last time Newcastle won a major trophy - the Fairs Cup in 1969 - the Beatles were conquering the pop charts and the top film of the year was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Can the Magpies put that sorry statistic behind them and give their supporters a Ticket to Ride to Amsterdam at the end of the season?

  181. 1914: 
    TEAM NEWS- Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    BBC Sport's Neil Johnston: "John Terry returns to captain Chelsea while Yossi Benayoun makes a rare Stamford Bridge start as Rafael Benitez makes six changes to the side that advanced to the FA Cup semi-final at Manchester United's expense on Monday. Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and Ryan Bertrand also return.

    "Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, John Mikel Obi, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba make way. Oscar, who has scored six goals in European competition this season, is among the substitutes."

  182. 1912: 
    Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)
    Gareth Bale

    Ask most football fans who the two best players in the world are and 99% will probably say Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Emmanuel Eboue. But who is the next best?

    Zinedine Zidane, who knows a thing or two about being the most talented footballer on the planet, reckons it could be Gareth Bale.

    "His accelerating speed is incredible; he can go from nothing to full tilt very quickly," said the former World Cup winner. "Plus, he's really good technically which is also important. Maybe he's not quite at the level of those two [Messi and Ronaldo], but he's very close."

  183.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Newcastle fans - how do you feel about your Europa League run possibly getting in the way of the fight for Premier League survival?

    Liz in South Shields, via text on 81111: "We have to go for it in Europe, we have got a good squad so hopefully will pull away from the bottom end of the table, be a great result if we got something at Benfica!"

  184. 1909: 
    Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)

    Tottenham's match against FC Basel has been billed as the 'Christian Gross' derby. From the day he walked into White Hart Lane brandishing a tube ticket, accompanied by the Swiss cheese-like line of "Hopefully it'll be the ticket of my dreams", Gross's affair with Spurs was always going to turn sour. He went on to win four league titles in 10 years for Basel but he is remembered in north London with about as much fondness as Dr Jozef Venglos is at Villa Park. Remember him?

  185.  
    GET INVOLVED

    We've asked Chelsea fans who they would like to see replace Rafa Benitez after this season comes to an end.

    Tom Hiom: "99.7% of Blues fans will tell you there's only one man for the job after Rafa... Jose Mourinho!"

    Oliver McCaffrey: "I was hoping Pellegrini would come and manage us but after Malaga's negative tactics last night I'm not so sure"

  186. 1905: 
    Tottenham v FC Basel (2005 BST)
    Andre Villas-Boas

    Are there any Chelsea supporters wishing they still had Andre Villas-Boas in charge? He's certainly doing the business at Tottenham and I was struck by a couple of pictures I saw last weekend. I think it underlines his popularity with his players and the team spirit he is fostering down at the Lane.

  187.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Spurs fans have been asked if they want a Champions League place in preference to Europa League glory?

    Pasa Mustafa: "Europa League glory over a top four finish and a champions league place!? Your having laugh! Champions League any day."

    Steve Rich: "No way would waving the Thursday cup around replace those magical Tuesday/Wednesday nights. CL = nirvana."

  188. 1901: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    We all know Rafa is leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer, but where is he heading next? He's certainly open to the possibility of staying in England.

    "I like to win, to challenge for trophies. I would like to stay in a top side. A top side, why not in England?" he said earlier this week.

    A serious question now. Would anybody want Rafa at their club? He's certainly racked up a few trophies in his time and may add a couple more before the season is over.

  189. 1857: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    There are one or two constants in football which we can all set our watch by and a Rafa rant is one of them. The Chelsea manager has been at it again this week, in response to comments by Ray Wilkins that Ashley Cole picked up his hamstring injury because of Benitez's rotation policy.

    "I thought it was the first of April," said Benitez. "I can't take the comment seriously, so first of April. I have a degree in sport science in Spain and some merits in different universities, it is the first time I have ever heard anything like this, so first of April."

    So now you know what they teach at University these days - how to spot a first of April gag from Ray Wilkins. Useful.

  190. 1855: 
    Chelsea v Rubin Kazan (2005 BST)

    Chelsea have been installed as favourites to win the competition. Central to their quest for success is Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard who, according to Blues skipper John Terry, is striking fear into the best defences around.

    "He has been scoring goals as well as making them," said Terry. "When you come off the pitch and talk to the opposition, they all say, 'I don't fancy playing against him every week!'

    "He has just got that fear factor about him where he is quick enough to beat someone — he can dribble inside or go outside. He poses a threat throughout the whole game."

  191. 1854: 
    BREAKING NEWCASTLE TEAM NEWS

    Davide Santon and Tim Krul are back in the starting line-up for Newcastle. Papiss Cisse starts up front.

  192. 1850: 
    BREAKING CHELSEA TEAM NEWS

    Skipper John Terry is back in the Chelsea starting line-up while Yossi Benayoun is handed a rare start as one of six changes.

  193.  
    GET INVOLVED

    It should be a fantastic evening of top-class football and I'm banking on the usual quality input from you guys. You can get involved by tweeting us, via #bbcfootball, and by sending a text to 81111 (remembering to include your name). I'm going to kick us off with a question for fans of each club.

    1) Tottenham fans - I have heard it suggested that Europa League glory (a trophy) is more important than a top-four finish in the Premier League. What do you make of that?

    2) Newcastle fans - Quite a similar question. Standing just three points above the relegation zone, can you afford to be chasing European glory at the same time as fighting for your future in the Premier League?

    3) Chelsea fans - Let me know who you want as manager when Rafa leaves at the end of the season.

  194. 1847: 

    It's not going to be easy but Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham all have a realistic chance of glory this season. The Magpies face a tricky tie in one of European football's most iconic grounds, Benfica's Stadium of Light, while Tottenham welcome Swiss side FC Basel to White Hart Lane. Throw in a tie between the current champions of Europe, Chelsea, and Russian side Rubin Kazan and you can see why I'm excited about tonight's continental offering.

  195. 1845: 
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    We delighted in Dani Alves's pass, there was a touch of romance in Paris when David Beckham's PSG side held the mighty Barcelona to a draw, and then Cristiano Ronaldo nonchalantly put Real on course for the Champions League semi-finals. The cream of European football has shown us how it's done. Now it's England's turn. Step forward Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham.

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