Football: Spurs survive Inter scare as Torres saves Chelsea

PARIS (AFP) - Tottenham suffered a fright before sneaking past Inter Milan to reach the Europa League quarter-finals and restore some national pride following England's Champions League misery.

Fernando Torres struck the winner as Chelsea then joined their London rivals in the last eight after eliminating Steaua Bucharest whilst Papiss Cisse scored with the last touch of the match, a header, to send Newcastle through as well.

With Manchester United and Arsenal beaten at the last 16 stage of Europe's premier club competition, it was left to the Europa League participants to maintain English interest in European football this season.

And although they lost 4-1 on the night, Spurs went through on away goals thanks to last week's 3-0 success at White Hart Lane.

"The players have been magnificent to get us into the quarter finals," said Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas.

"Inter were motivated today. They came out and did what they had to."

Without the suspended Gareth Bale, they made hard work of progressing as they needed extra-time to do so after trailing 3-0 when the 90 minutes were up.

Inter played like a team that had nothing to lose and their lively front pairing of Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio caused Spurs trouble from the off.

It was little surprise when they took the lead as Palacio ran onto a clever pass from full-back Jonathan that dissected Spurs' defence, before crossing for Cassano to plant a downward header beyond Brad Friedel.

Spurs knew an away goal was all that was needed to break the home side's spirits but they proved wasteful with the chances that came their way as Inter left gaps at the back in their eagerness to attack.

After Palacio hit the bar, Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor should have killed the tie right at the end of the opening half following a mistake from Juan, only to chip both Samir Handanovic and the bar.

They were made to pay on 52 minutes as Palacio ran beyond the backline onto Esteban Cambiasso's through ball before calmly beating Friedel.

With just a quarter of an hour remaining, Cassano's weak and seemingly innocuous free-kick took a couple of deflections, the last off William Gallas's thigh, before trickling into the net.

Tottenham seemed the more fired up once the extra period began and Inter soon cracked as Handanovic couldn't hold Mousa Dembele's stinging strike with Adebayor beating veterans Javier Zanetti and Cristian Chivu to the rebound to poke home the crucial away goal.

Ricardo Alvarez headed in a fourth for Inter from Cassano's cross 10 minutes from time to ensure a thrilling tie kept everyone on tenterhooks right to the death.

Chelsea also made hard work of their qualification despite a positive start in which Juan Mata gave them the lead.

They had lost the first leg in Romania 1-0 and when Vlad Chiriches scored a crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time, Chelsea needed two more goals to go through.

Captain John Terry led the way by restoring their advantage on the night before Torres snatched the vital third, although he then missed a penalty which would have calmed the home nerves.

Newcastle and Anzhi Makhachkala played 180 minutes without scoring a goal but deep into injury time Senegal forward Cisse headed home a Sylvan Marveaux cross with time as good as up to send the English team through.

Libor Kozak scored a hat-trick as Lazio completed a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win over Stuttgart with a 3-1 win in Rome.

Benfica won 3-2 at Bordeaux to complete a 4-2 success overall while Fenerbahce joined Champions League quarter-finalists Galatasaray in extending Istanbul's interest in European competition as they completed a 2-1 aggregate victory over Viktoria Plzen with a 1-1 home draw.

Rubin Kazan needed extra-time to knock-out Levante 2-0 on aggregate after no goals had been scored in the first 180 minutes of the tie.

Zenit St Petersburg went out 2-1 to Switzerland's 10-man Basel despite a 1-0 success in Russia.