LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Three Barclays Premier League clubs will be in action in the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday night.
Defending Champions League title holder Chelsea, after getting dumped from that competition in the group stages, will host Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge.
Manager Rafa Benitez will be without injured defenders Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill, as well striker Demba Ba, who is not eligible for the game.
Left-back Cole suffered a hamstring injury against Manchester United, Cahill has a knee problem, while Ba featured for Newcastle in the group stage before transferring to Chelsea.
The on-form Gareth Bale and Tottenham host Basel at White Hart Lane in their quarter-final. England striker Jermain Defoe will miss the game with a muscle injury.
According to reports, manager Andre Villas-Boas is thinking about playing Bale as a striker with Defoe out and the Wales international in such great scoring form.
Newcastle United, in the meantime, will travel to battle with Benfica without several key players, who are either injured or ineligible.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul could return to start between the sticks, but Cheick Tiote (hamstring), Fabricio Coloccini (back), Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) and Massadio Haidara (knee) were all missing.
The Europa League second leg games will be played next week.
UEFA Europa League TV Channels
3:05pm Chelsea vs Rubin Kazan – Al Jazeera Sports +3, Al Jazeera Sports +4, Sportsnet, Fox Soccer Channel, Dolce Sport 2, Sky Sport 1 (Germany), ESPN Deportes, ESPN UK / HD, Setanta Sport Ireland, FoxSoccer2Go.com.
3:05pm Tottenham vs Basel – Al Jazeera Sports +2, Sportsnet World, ITV 1, UTV, FoxSoccer2Go.com, Canal 9 (DK), SuperSport 4 (South Africa), SuperSport 5 (South Africa), Sky Sport 1 (Germany), Fox Soccer Plus.
3:05pm Fenerbahçe vs Lazio – Al Jazeera Sports +5, FoxSoccer2Go.com, SuperSport 7 (South Africa), Dolce Sport, Sky Sport 1 (Germany).
3:05pm Benfica vs Newcastle United ITV 4, Al Jazeera Sports +1, Setanta Sport Europe 1, Sportsnet One, SuperSport MaXimo, FoxSoccer2Go.com, Sky Sport 1 (Germany).