Chelsea have one foot into the Europa League semi-finals after a Fernando Torres brace helped the Blues overcome Rubin Kazan.
A goal in each half by the Spaniard, together with a Victor Moses half-volley ensured the Blues go to Russia with a healthy advantage.
One drawback was the away goal conceded and the potential consequences that may have, but the Blues are firmly in control and dominated the match in large periods.
Fernando Torres was the main man with Demba Ba’s ineligibility in Europe, as one suspects he may well have started tonight given his wonder goal over Manchester United on Sunday. It was up to the former Liverpool hitman to prove his worth. Despite scoring only two goals since Christmas, Torres immediately matched that within 70 minutes of the match here.
His first was as sloppy a goal as you will ever see, but they all count. A wonderful David Luiz ball was reminiscent of the long ball, route one game played under Drogba that Rafael Benitez was tasked to replace with a more eye-catching, sassy style, but who cares when it is direct and leads to goals? Torres made a real hash of it, planted his backside on it, before sliding it past Ryzhikov: 1-0.
It had been all Chelsea leading to the goal, and despite Benitez’s constant moans of a hectic schedule, the fatigue did not show, even from the likes of Juan Mata, who continued to display exemplary touches.
Bertrand’s mazy run nearly caught Kazan’s defence out, but Cech was busy too, saving from Natcho, but it was two on the half-hour mark.
Running away from goal, Torres decided to fancy a shot, and though it was untidy, the ricochet of the ball took it into the box, where Victor Moses thumped it into the top corner.
Rubin Kazan had to get back into the match that was slowly getting away, and a rocket of a shot hit John Terry’s arm. The time between the ball leaving Ansaldi’s foot and striking John Terry’s arm could only have been 0.25 seconds, but the referee still deemed it a foul worthy of a penalty, and Natcho coolly converted.
Only a few dozen away fans made the trip from Russia, but it was at least worth their while with the away goal.
Juan Mata’s corner in the second half met John Terry’s head, but the ball sailed over the bar.
Hazard came on for goalscorer Moses, whilst Torres was still enjoying having no direct competition from the bench, as he scored his second of the game. Mata’s cross from the left-wing found Torres unmarked, and the Spaniard headed home firmly.
Mata was given a rest as Oscar replaced him, whilst Marin too was given game time as Benayoun made way. It was a stroll in the park for Chelsea.