Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan
Last updated on .From the section Football
Fernando Torres scored twice to help Chelsea take a huge stride towards the Europa League's last four.
Torres stabbed home from close range following David Luiz's clever pass before Victor Moses doubled the lead with a terrific 16-yard finish.
Bibras Natcho's penalty gave Rubin hope after John Terry had handled.
But Torres's header from Juan Mata's cross in the quarter-final first leg at Stamford Bridge leaves Chelsea well placed to advance.
There is still work to do in the return leg in Moscow for Rafael Benitez's side next week, but this was as good as Chelsea's interim boss could have hoped for after a hectic week of action.
Rubin Kazan have overcome holders Atletico Madrid, Partizan Belgrade, Inter Milan and Levante in Europe's second-tier competition.
Yet this was job done as far as the Blues were concerned on a satisfactory night at Stamford Bridge.
This was Chelsea's third game inside a week yet Benitez's side looked far from jaded as they raced into a 2-0 lead.
Torres, one of six players recalled to the side after Monday's FA Cup victory over Manchester United, stabbed home from close range following Luiz's delightful 16th-minute long pass caused panic inside the Russians' penalty area.
Having eliminated Atletico earlier in the competition, Rubin were looking to become the first team to knock out both last season's reigning Champions League winners and Europa League champions.
Yet they fell further behind when Moses rifled the ball into the roof of the net from 16-yards in the 32nd minute - his second European goal since joining from Wigan Athletic for £9m last August - after more poor defending from Rubin.
Chelsea were in full command of their 56th game of the campaign, as the fourth best team in the Russian Premier League were forced into a damage limitation exercise.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech, who faced Southampton last Saturday and Manchester United on Monday, had yet to be seriously tested but that was all to change four minutes before half-time.
Terry, an absentee from the starting line-up against United, was harshly adjudged by Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi to have handled Cristian Ansaldi's shot inside his own area and Natcho's textbook penalty gave the tie a totally different complexion.
Suddenly, Chelsea had work to do to avoid a difficult night in Moscow.
Mata went close in the 48th minute with a left-foot shot which was saved before Rubin spurned a glorious chance to equalise when substitute Jose Rondon shot tamely at Cech in a great position.
But Torres capped one of his better performances of the season with a goal 20 minutes from time that gives Chelsea breathing space.
It was made in Spain, Mata providing the cross for his international team-mate to nod home his sixth European goal of the campaign after out-jumping the Russian defence.
46 MINUTES AGO
Benitez will be the second Chelsea manager in a row to win a major European trophy and then get terminated.
What a stupid club.
Unlike the other London clubs who keep theirs and win the square root of sod all.
I agree the semi against Man City will be a very tough game but to state Chelsea have "no chance" is just arrogant - or stupid, take your pick - given our recent history in the competition.
And "lol lol lol lol lol infinity". Really? You do realise this is a forum for grown-ups, don't you?
why spend more millions on a player who will be 28 next year when we can grow a young team with a very promising youngster like Lukaku or even Piazon who is also doing well at malaga
imagine mata, hazard, oscar with lukaku and/or piazon leading the line.
not saying falcao is crap, just saying its time we focus on the young kids we already paid for and build for the future
We all know why Rio was booed, why did ITV need to gloss over it. Isn't this attitude part of the problem in the first place.
ITV should apologise!
Carroll is not really a flop because he didn't control his price tag and was never that good in the first place.
Torres has been somewhat of a flop at Chelsea because he was so good when he was at Liverpool. However, I do think a lot of it is over the top.
The answer is Torres, who I expect to be sold in the Summer when Benitez leaves. Chelsea should get about 15m for him I would expect.
I would rather Rafa stayed than waste the superb skills of Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Marin, Piazon, De Bruyne, with Mourinho who prefers strength. If not Rafa, then why not choose one of the many successful 'beautiful football' European managers (or Poyet or Laudrup).
It serves them well in cup competitions but they're in real danger of missing out on 4th place.
Mourinho gets the best out of players, be it stregnth or skill - ozil, di maria, benzema, alonso. . .he is not all about power, but does recognise the need for it in England.
Best manager on the planet.
Quoting Wikipedia is, in itself, rather silly. As you well know, the great people's online dictionary cannot be trusted as it is open to anyone to edit.
While I do not doubt the validity of your argument, the validity of your sources must be called into question.
Anyway, job half done. Still lots to do in Russia, but I think we will be OK.
Top 3 finish, retain the FA cup and win the Europa would represent progress is being made.
C'mon you Blues.
@139 Not sure how it's ultimate champs? Knocked out @group stage whilst defending, certainly ultimate worst @defending the title! Lol
So, apparently, is Joey Barton.