EUROPA LEAGUE Ro32: Hazard leaves it late to save Chelsea’s blushes against Sparta

Chelsea have produced a last-gasp winner to beat Czech side Sparta Prague 2-1 on aggregate in the Europa League Round of 32.

Chelsea have produced a last-gasp winner to beat Czech side Sparta Prague 2-1 on aggregate in the Europa League Round of 32.

The Blues took a one-goal advantage into the home leg and it looked as if they may have been heading for extra-time when Sparta led 1-0 at Stamford Bridge following David Lafata’s 17th minute goal.

But Eden Hazard came off the bench to send the Blues through to the next stage with an injury-time winner which essentially saved the blushes of the reigning European champions.

Chelsea escaped embarrassment against a determined Sparta outfit who stunned the Southwest Londoners when Lafata fired home from close range, however, they had keeper Tomas Vaclik to thank as he came up with a number of fine saves to deny the home side.

Ramires hit the post early in the second half and Fernando Torres was wasteful but the night was rescued by Hazard, who replaced Oscar in the 67th minute, with the Belgian advancing down the left before rifling home for the night’s equaliser and the two-legged tie advantage.

Chelsea will now look to the next stage of Europe’s second tier club competition where they face Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.

2012/13 UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 second leg

Chelsea (ENG): 1 (Eden Hazard 90+2’)
Sparta Prague (CZE): 1 (David Lafata 17’)

Stamford Bridge, London – 38,642

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