|He’s back: Fernando Torres finds his feet in a blistering display by London side Chelsea [GALLO/GETTY]|
A trio of European football giants headed by Chelsea gave European Champions League minnows a stark lesson in the gap between them on Wednesday in the latest round of group matches.
Chelsea – who are yet to realise billionaire owner Roman Abramovich’s dream of winning the trophy – whopped Belgian side Genk 5-0 with Spanish striker Fernando Torres grabbing a first-half double.
Torres’ first goals in the competition in 875 minutes helped Chelsea to their biggest Champions League win since beating Galatasaray by the same scoreline in 1999.
AC Milan and Barcelona also recorded victories over two of the lesser lights though not by such large margins, Milan beating BATE Borisov 2-0, Kevin-Prince Boateng scoring a great second, while holders Barcelona edged Viktoria Plzen 1-0.
The victories, though, leave the two of them all but certain to qualify and the only question remaining is to who finishes top.
Back on track
Fernando Torres ended his Champions League goal drought in emphatic fashion.
The Spaniard finally got back on track with two clinical finishes against the woeful Belgian champions.
Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles opened the scoring with his first goal for the club, but it was Torres who took centre-stage with his brace.
Branislav Ivanovic added the fourth goal just before half-time and Salomon Kalou completed the rout in the second half.
Torres, who now has four goals in his last four appearances, will be back on the sidelines on Sunday as he serves the final game of his domestic suspension when Chelsea face QPR.
But the much-maligned forward has done all he can to ensure he returns to the team after that ban.
His efforts ensured Chelsea remain top of Group E, one point ahead of second placed Bayer Leverkusen, after the biggest win of boss Andre Villas-Boas’s reign which equalled the club’s largest ever Champions League victory.
Bayer Leverkusen, who showed great spirit in coming from 1-0 down at home to Valencia to win 2-1.
Two goals in three second-half minutes from Andre Schurrle and Sidney Sam getting them a crucial win.
Wednesday October 19
AC Milan 2-0 BATE Borisov
Chelsea’s struggling English Premier League rivals Arsenal – who like Chelsea have yet to capture the trophy having lost like their London rivals in the one final they contested – scored a late winner through Aaron Ramsey to come away from Marseille with a 1-0 win.
The win takes Arsenal to top of the group a point ahead of Marseille while Greek side Olympiakos are three points behind the French outfit after recording their first win with a 3-1 victory over disappointing German champions Borussia Dortmund.
Group G looks as if it will go down to the wire for both of the knockout places as Wednesday’s matches both ended in draws.
APOEL Nicosia remain the surprise of the quartet and top the table after grabbing an impressive 1-1 draw away at Portuguese giants Porto.
Shakhtar Donetsk – quarter-finalists last year – and Zenit St Petersburg fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the other match, though, the Ukrainian side probably need to win their next clash of they are not so slip out of contention for the top two places.