by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 4th 2013)
He Scores When He Wants
Writing Fernando Torres off as an expensive flop is deceptive. He’s not the player he was at Atlético de Madrid or at Liverpool, but a bust? Torres’ brace tonight against Russian outfit Rubin Kazan made him the club’s joint leading scorer for Chelsea this season along with Juan Mata (nobody questions Mata’s contribution). It had long been stressed by Rafa Benítez that Torres was getting into the right positions and doing well in training. The confidence would come back when the goals did. Tonight Torres was on form.
“He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants; Fernando Torres, he scores when he wants,” Chelsea fans chanted, warming once more to the £50m striker. “I heard Fernando needed to score a goal, because every press conference is the same question,” Benítez said. “I think he will play well and score goals during the season.”
He certainly did that tonight. A weak effort after 12 minutes from just outside the area went harmlessly wide, but the predatory poacher instincts remained. Four minutes later a long ball by David Luiz into Rubin’s area caused confusion when Torres’ poke forward wasn’t cleared. Torres accepted the second invitation to tap in from 5 yards out – an easy but priceless goal.
Confidence returned rapidly. Moments later he embarrassed his marker to outpace him and turn him before crossing from the right-wing. There have been many false dawns, but Torres was playing with confidence again. Torres is only four shy of Robin van Persie’s tally this season with 19 in all competitions.
Rubin Kazan’s ambitions for a bore draw were apparent as it took the visitors 20 minutes to muster a shot on goal. Bebras Natcho’s penchant for long range shooting required a parry from Petr Čech. Thirteen minutes later Victor Moses doubled the Blues’ lead with a well struck drive from just inside the area into the top right-hand corner of Sergei Ryzhikov’s net.
César Azpilicueta’s cross from the right was headed goalward by Ramires, but Ryzhikov over-extended his dive causing him to parry rather than catch it. It was collected by Torres, who turned and shot, but it was blocked. Mata hooked it back to Moses who finished with aplomb. It was no more than Chelsea deserved, but they were driven out of their comfort zone when John Terry blocked Cristian Ansaldi’s shot with his arm.
Referee Gianluca Rocchi awarded a penalty which Natcho scored and booked Terry. Benítez thought the decision harsh, never mind the booking. “Frustration is right,” the interim manager said. “You want all the decisions right.” His opposite number Kurban Berdyev was non-committal, saying he didn’t see the incident.
Torres restored Chelsea’s two-goal lead after 70 minutes with a powerful header into the top left of Ryzhikov’s goal. Mata got the assist with his cross from the left wing. Chelsea will take a two goal cushion to Russia for the second leg a week tonight.
“It [the away goal] will make a difference, but the difference is what we can do on the pitch,” Benítez said. “They have to score [twice]. We are confident that we can score.” Meanwhile, Berdyev refused to concede defeat. “I think that Chelsea have the speed and they play very fast,” he said. “Chelsea were playing this game the best they can and Torres just managed to take every chance he can today, [but] If there is no hope we shouldn’t play at all so we will just go there and fight.”