CHELSEA made hard work of qualifying for the Europa League semi finals, going down to Rubin Kazan in Moscow – but being carried through by their homework.
Blues were thankful for the 3-1 advantage from last week's Stamford Bridge first leg as a series of defensive nightmares, and one highly dubious penalty, gave Rubin a shock victory on the night over the European Champions.
The Luzhniki Stadium, a place where neither team wanted to come, attracted an impressive crowd of perhaps 20,000 given the tiny travelling contingents from both London and Kazan.
Chelsea had brought 126 fans from the UK, while not many more came from the 'home' team's base 500 miles away in Tatarstan.
The bulk of the crowd was Russian fans of Chelsea, in particular; and of football in general – the profile of the game being escalated ahead of the World Cup, scheduled to be hosted here in 2018.
Chelsea gained the huge advantage of a fifth minute goal, when Frank Lampard set up Fernando Torres for a long-range chip that saw the Blues take a three-goal advantage over the tie.
Chelsea looked more inventive throughout the early stages: Lampard of note in sending a series of trademark pinpoint passes over to Torres.
Chelsea's changed formation, more a sort of 4-1-4-1 than the usual 4-2-3-1, seemed to benefit the veteran England man's game.
Rubin did challenge a couple of times in the opening half – but neither effort troubled Petr Cech immensely.
But the 'hosts' attacked the second half with greater purpose.
Six minutes after the break, sloppy defending from Blues, enabled Ivan Marcano to head home from a corner.
But having restored parity, over the night if not the tie, Rubin let it quickly lapse.
Victor Moses exchanged passes with Ramires, before giving Chelsea their second of the game – and fifth of the quarter final.
But Rubin were intent on making a night of it.
Captain Gokhdeniz Karadeniz nipped between sleeping Blues defenders, minds already on Wembley, to head a second for the Russian league side.
With 15 left to play, Cesar Azpilicueta was penalised for a shove in the box – through there were heavy suggestions of a bit of amateur dramatics from Aleksandr Ryazantsev.
Bebras Natcho scored from the spot to give Rubin a win on the night.
Chelsea go into tomorrow's UEFA draw, and Sunday's FA Cup semi final against Manchester City, having rested players and done the job needed.
But this will be another night in Moscow they will want to forget about pretty quickly.