Apr 29 2012 By Yann Tear
fernando torres Image 2
Chelsea 6-1 QPR
QPR endured a nightmare in the rain at Stamford Bridge as a gleeful Chelsea celebrated their qualification for Munich in style – Fernando Torres claiming his first hat-trick for the Blues.
Rangers found themselves 4-0 down with less than 25 minutes played with nowhere to go and an hour of gloating to put up with.
If they were hoping the soggy conditions might hamper the home side or that there would be some kind of hangover from Chelsea following their superhuman efforts in Barcelona, they were sadly mistaken.
The Blues played with an unmistakable spring in the step – reaching a Champions league final can have that effect - and their pace and energy from the outset simply swatted Mark Hughes' team aside.
It was almost contemptuous. “We're going to Germany, you're going to Barnsley,” Chelsea fans bellowed. Roberto Di Matteo got regular name checks from happy home fans.
It rendered all the sub-plots meaningless. The pre-match handshake was again cancelled to prevent the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga becoming an issue.
Almost inevitably Terry scored – as he often does whenever he is in the eye of a storm and in need of redemption. It was as if the shameful red card in Spain that has cost him a place in the final never happened.
Neither the absence of a suspended Adel Taarabt, nor Chelsea's lack of a genuine centre-half to operate alongside Terry – Jose Bosingwa filled in without fuss - was of any relevance.
The form book prevailed, with Chelsea remaining very much in the hunt for the fourth place insurance they need should they lose to Bayern Munich next month, while Rangers have their biggest game of the season against Stoke next weekend – a match they now look as if they will have to win to avoid a quick return to the Championship.
It took 45 seconds for Chelsea to begin exerting their supremacy – and they did so in banal fashion, with Daniel Sturridge getting the ball back off Ferdinand's shins on the edge of the area and then lashing the ball into the top corner beyond Paddy Kenny's right arm.
Rangers were still trying to work their way into the game when they fell further behind after 13 minutes when Terry rose above Clint Hill to head in a Juan Mata corner – the Blues skipper having already fired a left foot volley at Kenny,.
A cute Frank Lampard chip led to the second goal – Kenny tipping the midfielder's effort over the bar to concede the corner from which Chelsea doubled their advantage.
Nineteen minutes in and the game was over when Fernando Torres re-enacted his waltz around Victor Valdez in Barcelona. The Spaniard raced on to a fine pass from Salomon Kalou and rounded Kenny before drilling home. A tighter angle than in midweek it may have been, but the outcome was the same.
It got worse. On 25 minutes, Kenny made a hash of collecting an angled chip from Mata and Torres was on hand to pick up the spillage – lashing home into the corner of the net.
Torres came close to a first-half treble – firing wide under pressure after Mata and Lampard had again carved up an over-worked defence. But it hardly mattered.
On 64 minutes, the rejuvenated striker calmly strode forward onto a pass from Mata and curled the ball past Kenny for his third. Even a watching Roman Abramovich was smiling at that one.
With 10 minutes to go, sub Florent Malouda scored from close range as Rangers failed to deal with a low cross from Wednesday hero Ramires, who had been on the field barely six minutes.
QPR's heady 1-0 win over the Blues in October seemed a long time ago.
In the second half, Jamie Macki'es 25-yarder raised QPR spirits a little – Petr Cech being forced to stretch to tip aside.
Djibril Cisse also headed onto the roof of the Chelsea net before tucking in a cut-back from Nedum Onuoha five minutes from time. But the Hoops offered a meagre challenge as their away woes continued.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ferreira, Bosingwa (Hutchinson 82), Terry, Cole; Lampard, Essien, Mata (Malouda 68); Sturridge, Torres, Kalou (Ramires 74). Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Drogba, Meireles.
QPR: Kenny; Onuoha, Hill, Ferdinand, Taiwo; Mackie, Derry, Buzsaky (Traore 65), Barton; Zamora (Wright-Phillips 78), Cisse. Subs not used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Young, Smith..