Europa League draw: Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle avoid each other in quarter-final draw
Chelsea face nightmare trip to Russia
The draw for the Europa League has taken place in Nyon with Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all still involved in the competition.
Amid a nightmare fixture pile-up, Chelsea will not have been pleased to see themselves drawn against Rubin Kazan, a trip that will mean travelling to Russia. However, it has emerged that the fixture could be moved to Moscow rather than the home ground of the Russian side. Even if the fixture is moved, no other team remaining in the competition is further from London.
The English teams who remain in the competition will all be pleased to have avoided each other and the draw means there could be three representatives from the Premier League in the last four of the tournament.
Of the English teams, perhaps Newcastle, who beat Anzhi Makhachkala in the last round thanks to an injury time goal from Papiss Cisse, face the toughest task. They play Portuguese giants Benfica.
The final English team, Tottenham, will play Basel. A match against the Swiss team will be no walkover, but Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas will just be relieved to be in the last eight after last night's scare against Inter Milan which saw the Italian side come from 3-0 down to draw 4-4 on aggregate, a result which saw the Serie A side only exit on the away goals rule.
Rubin, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, is the furthest east of any European club in the competition but they played their last-16 home match against Levante at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium due to problems with the pitch.
A decision on where to play the Chelsea game on April 11 will be made after a Uefa inspection next week. Rubin Kazan want to play at their home ground but it is expected to be moved to Moscow. It would mean a shorter journey - though still a significant one - for Rafael Benitez's team ahead of a possible FA Cup semi-final three days later.
The first leg for Chelsea is just three days after their FA Cup replay against Manchester United.
Rubin Kazan will be tough opponents for Benitez's Chelsea team.
The Russian side have already knocked out two Spanish teams - holders Atletico Madrid in the round of 32 and Levante last night, winning 2-0 after extra time.
Rubin were also unbeaten in a tough group that include Inter Milan and are particularly strong defensively, having conceded only three goals in 10 European matches.
Spurs' opponents Basle scraped into the quarter-finals after Russian side Zenit St Petersburg missed a late penalty against the 10-man Swiss side.
Newcastle's opponents Benfica came into the Europa League knock-out stages after finishing third in a Champions League group including Celtic and Barcelona, during which they achieved a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp.
Former Newcastle and Holland striker Patrick Kluivert, who carried out the draw for UEFA, said he believed an English side has a great chance of winning the competition.
Kluivert said: "There are three great teams from England, Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle and for sure one of those can lift the trophy but there will be other teams eager to do so too so that can only be good for the competition."
Quarter-final draw for the Europa League...
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Tottenham v Basle
Fenerbahce v Lazio
Benfica v Newcastle
First-leg ties to be played on April 4, second-leg ties to be played on April 11.
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