x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Europa League round-up: Gareth Bale inspires Tottenham to 3-0 rout of Inter as Chelsea stumble against Steaua

Andre Villas-Boas hailed a 'great night' for Spurs as Bale's run of form continued at White Hart Lane, while Newcastle came away goalless from Moscow.

Tottenham's Gareth Bale looks for a way through the Inter Milan defence.
Tottenham's Gareth Bale looks for a way through the Inter Milan defence.

Andre Villas-Boas hailed a "great night" for Tottenham after they outplayed Inter Milan in their Europa League round of 16 first leg tie to claim an impressive 3-0 win at White Hart Lane.

Goals from in-form Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen secured a vital victory to take to Italy for the return leg next week with Spurs in charge for a large portion of the game.

Inter missed a good chance in both halves but were underwhelming for most of the game and Villas-Boas believes his side were deserving of the result.

"It was a very good performance and a great night of European football for us," he said.

"We really felt that at half-time we could have gone further - there were some important moments of the game for Inter Milan too but we had so many opportunities - we really deserved to win.

"Unfortunately for us it doesn't mean we are through yet, it is a difficult place to go and I just hope we can do enough to qualify.

"I think the result is what it is and it is well deserving for Tottenham and still prestigious."

Rafael Benitez remains confident his Chelsea side will advance to the Europa League quarter-finals despite going 1-0 down to Steaua Bucharest.

In the first of two games in four days, and the Blues' 50th game of a turbulent season, last season's Champions League winners were beaten after Ryan Bertrand was penalised for pulling back Raul Rusescu, who converted a 34th-minute spot-kick.

The Chelsea interim manager described the penalty award as "soft" but Chelsea were lacklustre, offering little attacking threat, and take a deficit into next week's second leg at Stamford Bridge.

"We know that we have to do our job now at home," said Benitez, who must now take his side to Manchester United for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final.

"In these kind of games and this kind of competition, if you don't score away it's always more difficult. Still you have to believe. "We are disappointed, but still we have the belief we will win at home."

Lazio put one foot in the quarter-finals with an accomplished 2-0 win at Stuttgart.

Given the Italians' imposing home form, Stuttgart knew they had to make gains on home turf but barely created a clear opening in slumping to defeat.

Goals in either half from Honorato Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi sealed the win for Lazio.

Fenerbahce are another team dreaming of the last eight after a 1-0 win at Viktoria Plzen.

The Czech hosts failed to hit their stride at any point in the contest and Pierre Webo's late strike for the Turkish visitors was fully deserved.

Basle's strong home form in Europe saw the Swiss side to a 2-0 win over Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Marcelo Diaz scored in the 82nd minute after both sides had wasted a string of chances, and substitute Alexander Frei netted from the penalty spot in stoppage time after Luis Neto had seen red for a foul on Mohamed Salah.

Benfica defeated Bordeaux 1-0, an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Cedric Carasso proving the difference between the sides at the Estadio da Luz

The day's early kick-off in Moscow between Anzhi Makhachkala and Newcastle ended goalless.

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa passed up the best chance of the contest on 64 minutes after being played in by Yohan Cabaye but could not beat Vladimir Gabulov with a chipped effort.

Levante and Rubin Kazan also played out a 0-0 draw in a match that saw both teams finish with 10 men.

The Spanish side had a chance to take control ahead of the second leg when Rubin's Cristian Ansaldi was given a second yellow card in the 53rd minute but they threw away the advantage almost immediately as Michel received a straight red card moments later.