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UEFA Europa League
February 21, 2013
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: A. Stavrev
• Attendance: 38642
E. Hazard 90'+
Chelsea win Aggregate 2 - 1
D. Lafata 17'
Thank you for joining me for this game. At least it was marginally better than the first leg, and stick with Goal.com for all the reaction from the Europa League games tonight. I've been Chris Teale, thanks for sticking with me for this one.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME, and it’s Chelsea who go through thanks to Eden Hazard’s very late strike. The Belgian hammered home with just 20 seconds left in the game after a thoroughly uninspiring and frustrating second half. Sparta had the better chances and Chelsea were very wasteful indeed with theirs, but it’s the European champions who go through thanks to Hazard’s moment of inspiration. It was torturous at times, but the Blues have done it.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Yellow CardLeonard Kweuke
90' + 1'
GOAL!!! CHELSEA HAVE DONE IT!!! With just 20 seconds left, Eden Hazard comes forward, jinks past a defender or two and hammers an unstoppable shot into the net to send the Blues through! 1-1 on the night, 2-1 on aggregate.
Two minutes of time added on, as Kadlec sends a chance wide under pressure from Gary Cahill.
Chance! Terry hooks on a corner and Ramires sends a difficult one flying wide. They just can't get the ball on target tonight.
Yellow CardMarek Matejovsky
The yellows are really starting to fly around here, with Bertrand and now Matejovsky having their names taken.
Yellow CardRyan Bertrand
Alas, neither of Chelsea's free kicks were particularly lethal, with Mata struggling to clear the wall.
Yellow CardTomáš Přikryl
Well well. Yellow card to Pikryl for breaking from the wall too early after a Mata free kick. That is virtually unheard of.
Bertrand flashes a ball across the box but no one is there to stab it home. This is very frustrating for the Blues.
Awkward free kick there from substitute Eden Hazard, but Vaclik deals with the ball well and palms it away. He has been superb this evening, but one senses his work is not over yet.
It is so flat out there now, as Chelsea seem bereft of ideas and the fans are very quiet. Extra time beckons.
Krejci does incredibly well there to get a cross in from the byline, but Cech clings on to the ball and sets his team away once again.
Chelsea are starting to up the tempo a bit now. With Manchester City to play next in the Premier League, they really don't want extra time.
Lovely try from Zapotocny, who drives a superb half-volley just over the bar.
Oh dear. The ball is worked to Ramires, but drags his shot well wide of the goal.
Here goes Kadlec for Sparta on the counter, but he shoots when Lafata was free in the box.
Great shot there from Moses after Torres' knock-down, but Vaclik is there once again to claw the ball away for a corner.
Chelsea are raining shots in from range, but none of them are getting anywhere near Sparta's goal.
Here come Sparta, and Matejovsky has a shot from outside the box that goes just wide. Just.
The game has slowed to almost a walking pace now, although Chelsea try and send a ball forward but see it cleared well.
My word. What a great improvised effort from John Terry, who hooks a shot over his head with the outside of his foot and sees it beaten away by Vaclik.
The ball comes to Bertrand in the box, but his flick unfortunately doesn't find a Chelsea team-mate.
Yellow CardMatěj Hybš
Azpilicueta comes forward and is hauled down by Hybs, who tugs his shirt and earns himself a booking.
Chance! Torres has another chance as he's played through and swivels brilliantly. He goes for the chip, but Vaclik stays up well and beats his dinked shot away.
Zapotocny comes marauding forward and could easily have a shot but just dawdles slightly, allowing Chelsea to scramble it away.
Replays show that Matej Hybs got a superb deflection on that Ramires shot to take it onto the post. Great effort from the Sparta man.
Chance! Chelsea come flying out the traps, with Oscar playing in Ramires on the right, but his shot cannons off the post.
We're back already for the second half, which is kicked off by Chelsea. Remember: it's 1-0 Sparta but 1-1 on aggregate and we'll go to extra time if it stays like this.
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME, and Sparta lead 1-0 on the night and have levelled the tie at 1-1 on aggregate. The away side have been the more positive, having a number of good attacking moves and giving Chelsea a number of problems. Meanwhile, the Blues have lacked a certain urgency about their play despite some flashes of brilliance from Juan Mata and have been second-best by far in this game. Fernando Torres has been particularly wasteful, and could have had a first-half hat-trick. Chelsea will need to improve if they are to qualify, especially if they want to avoid the dreaded extra time, which we are heading to if the score remains the same.
45' + 1'
Great chance again there for Torres, who has a free header after a great run but sends it over the bar. Poor boy.
There'll be two minutes of time added on.
Yellow CardDavid Lafata
Then, Lafata picks up a yellow for a clumsy foul.
Off go Sparta on the counter attack, but the cross from Prikryl is poor and dealt with comfortably.
Great stuff there from Ramires, who manages to dig out a cross against all the odds, but no one is able to get on the end of it for Chelsea.
Matejovsky has a cross in that goes over everyone's heads and out for a goal kick.
What a brilliant try from Mata, who swivels in the box, flicks the ball up and hits it with his left foot but is thwarted by Vaclik, who palms the ball just over the bar.
Teasing cross there from Azpilicueta towards the diving Torres, but Zapotocny clears the danger very well.
Even now the referee has had his poorly hand sorted out, Chelsea are struggling to get anything going, with their opponents looking much better.
Ramires tries to play a difficult through ball to Victor Moses but overhits it and sends the ball out. Their tempo has dropped somewhat, as the referee for some reason has a cut on his hand that needs fixing.
From the resulting corner, Marek Matejovsky has a great chance to hit a half-volley in acres of space, but he sends his shot over the bar.
Lovely move there from Sparta, who send the ball out to Tomas Prikryl on the right, but his shot is parried well by Cech at his near post.
Sparta are pounding on the door with a couple of corners and some good crosses, but the Blues are coping well with the threat.
Chelsea win a free kick, the Sparta wall takes an age to move back 10 yards, then Mata sends it over the top.
Sublime to the ridiculous there for Lafata, who balloons a shot well over the bar from just outside the penalty area.
That was a half-chance there for Oscar, who is picked out by Azpilicueta but smothered well by a defender.
Ouch. Kadlec's head collides with John Obi Mikel's cheekbone, and both players lay strewn in the Chelsea penalty area. They'll be fine, though.
GOAL!!! The tie is level!!! Vaclav Kadlec does very well to get the ball back in the penalty area and picks out Lafata, who finishes into the roof of the net from five yards out. Superb goal, and this tie is very much alive.
Another Mata corner and Torres heads over the bar. Encouraging stuff from Chelsea.
Great cross from the left there from Ryan Bertrand, but Tomas Vaclik is on hand for Sparta to gather the ball well down low.
Chance! Great cross in from Juan Mata to Torres at the back post, but he gets too much on his flying volley and sends the ball agonisingly over the bar. Chelsea could be 2-0 up already, and the Spaniard could already have a double.
Interesting defending there from Chelsea who don't deal with a cross, and Cesar Azpilicueta needs to be on hand with a flying block to stop David Lafata's shot.
Great run there from Ladislav Krejci, but he's flagged correctly for being offside.
Sparta are living on the edge here as Tomas Zapotocny's clearance goes square in the penalty area but is just about scrambled away.
Speculative shot there from Oscar, but a deflection takes it out for a Chelsea corner.
Chance Torres! Victor Moses does very well to get the ball off a Sparta defender and cuts it back to Fernando Torres, whose low precision shot goes just wide of the far post.
Chelsea's turn now, as they knock the ball around comfortably and keep it well. Both sides feeling their way into this one early on.
Similar start to the first leg here, as Sparta knock the ball around their own half but can't quite move forward as yet.
Here we go! Sparta Prague get the first half off and running.
We’re getting close to kick off here, as both sides make their way onto the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues make five changes to the team that beat Brentford, with Fernando Torres brought in up front for the cup-tied Demba Ba, and with Cesar Azpilicueta, Ryan Bertrand, Ramires and John Obi Mikel all returning to the side. Sparta meanwhile make just the one change to the side that lost at home, with Josef Husbauer replaced by Tomas Pikryl, who will join David Lafata up front.
Now, Sparta Prague: Vaclik, Zapotocny, Svejdík, Holek, Hybs, Matejovsky, Vacha, Krejci, Kadlec, Lafata, Pikryl. Subs: Cech, Pamic, Vidlicka, Polom, Janos, Kweuke, Bednar.
How are those teams looking this evening? First, here’s Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Oscar, Mata, Moses; Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Cole, David Luiz, Hazard, Ferreira, Marin, Benayoun.
Sparta Prague on the other hand are up against it in this return leg as they travel to London trailing by an away goal. They sit third in the Czech First Division, just three points off the top spot, and will need to be far better in front of goal if they are to be successful. Striker David Lafata was particularly guilty of missing several glorious chances as their opponents’ defence looked unconvincing to say the least.
That first leg was not the best game in the world, but was won by Chelsea thanks to a goal from Oscar within a minute of him taking to the pitch as a substitute. It’s given the Blues a crucial away goal and a real foothold in this tie as they look to progress in Europe. Chelsea have had one game since then, demolishing Brentford 4-0 in their FA Cup fifth-round replay, with a mouth-watering clash with Manchester United in prospect in the next round.
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com’s LIVE! text commentary of this Europa League clash between Chelsea and Sparta Prague. I’m Chris Teale, and I’m very hopeful this game is better than the first leg.
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