Chelsea 6 QPR 1: Torres the hat-trick hero as Hughes has that sinking feeling
14:54 GMT, 29 April 2012
Fernando Torres scored his first hat-trick for Chelsea as they celebrated reaching the Champions League final by roaring back into contention to qualify for next season's competition.
Torres and the Blues produced the polar opposite of a European hangover after Tuesday's astonishing semi-final triumph over Barcelona by burying QPR at Stamford Bridge.
That lifted them back up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League, a point below Newcastle ahead of Wednesday night's crucial clash against the Magpies.
Three and easy: Torres bagged his first hat-trick since scoring three against Hull in 2009
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Bosingwa (Hutchinson 81), Terry, Cole, Mata (Malouda 67), Essien, Lampard, Sturridge, Torres, Kalou (Ramires 73).
Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Drogba, Meireles.
Goals: Sturridge, 1; Terry 13; Torres 19, 25, 64, Malouda 80.
QPR: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Mackie, Barton, Derry, Buzsaky (Traore 66), Cisse, Zamora (Wright-Phillips 78).
Subs not used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Young, Smith.
Goal: Cisse 84.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
Their biggest ever win over QPR
avenged October's incendiary west London derby defeat at Loftus Road,
the visitors' goal difference taking a pounding as they stayed just
outside the relegation zone having played a game more than third-bottom
They will need to defend infinitely
better than today to stand a chance of survival, conceding to Daniel
Sturridge after just 48 seconds and allowing John Terry to make it 2-0
before Torres' treble, a goal from substitute Florent Malouda and a late
consolation from Djibril Cisse.
Terry had the last laugh at the end of
a week in which his sending off somehow failed to cost Chelsea at the
Nou Camp and his upcoming racism trial took centre-stage again when
today's pre-match handshakes were cancelled.
Both he and QPR defender Anton
Ferdinand – the man he denies racially abusing – were mercilessly
targeted by opposition fans, as they had been in January's FA Cup tie at
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who
yesterday bankrolled the club's first summer signing in Marko Marin, was
at Stamford Bridge to watch Roberto Di Matteo's latest attempt to
convince the Russian to give him the manager's job full-time.
Return to form: Torres bagged two in the first half to make it four goals in two games for the Blues
It took the home side – who had been
in danger of going a whole Premier League season without winning a
London derby for the first time – barely a quarter of the game to make
another case for the Italian.
With several players playing for a
place in the FA Cup and Champions League finals, they tore into Rangers
from the first whistle and Sturridge's screamer hit the net inside a
Ferdinand provided an unwitting assist
as Sturridge played the ball back off the defender before unleashing an
unstoppable curler on his weaker right foot, although Paddy Kenny might
claim he was unsighted by an offside Frank Lampard.
QPR tried to hit back but Chelsea
might have had a penalty when makeshift centre-back Jose Bosingwa's
drive hit the hand of Clint Hill, who was badly exposed as Terry made it
2-0 in the 14th minute.
Opener: Sturridge got the ball rolling inside a minute for the Blues and Malouda (below) scored the sixth
Kenny tipped over a delightful Lampard
chip but it was in vain as Terry got in front of Hill far too easily to
nod home Juan Mata's corner.
The celebrations were sensibly muted from Terry but the home fans could not have been more delighted.
They were on their feet again five
minutes later in appreciation of a brilliant Torres goal, the striker
starting and finishing a blistering move by rounding Kenny after a
superb ball from Salomon Kalou.
QPR were reeling but the fourth goal
was unforgivable, a horrible mix-up between Nedum Onuoha and Kenny
gifting Torres a left-foot finish he was in no mood to pass up.
Triple serving: Torres slides home his hat-trick strike and celebrates with the fans (below)
Another fine move almost saw Lampard
make it 5-0 and Torres complete his hat-trick as the driving rain was
briefly replaced by glorious sunshine.
It was still wet enough for Michael
Essien to be given the benefit of the doubt when he dived in on Cisse
and Joey Barton was even more fortunate when he raked his studs down the
ankle of Mata, who required treatment.
Mata would have made it 5-0 shortly
after half-time but for a powder-puff finish, while Petr Cech was
finally called into meaningful action when he somehow clawed Jamie
Mackie's drive out of the top corner.
Barton was finally booked and Kenny
delayed Torres' hat-trick with a good save but the 50million man made
no mistake to complete his first treble since September 2009, beating
the offside trap to clip Mata's pass into the far corner.
Plenty to ponder: Hughes side are facing relegation while Di Matteo (below) has a two cup finals to plan
Abramovich high-fived his companions
in the directors' box and he was celebrating again 10 minutes from time
when substitutes Ramires and Malouda combined thanks to a Ferdinand
There was still time for Sam
Hutchinson to make his first appearance since coming out of retirement
and Cisse to drill home a consolation, but the damage was already done.