Torres torments hapless Genk as Chelsea run amok

Chelsea 5 (Meireles 8, Torres 11, 27, Ivanovic 42, Kalou 73) Genk 0

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The Independent Online


They wore a fuchsia-coloured kit, their manager was called Mr Been and they largely gifted Chelsea their biggest-ever home win in Champions League football: if only all Andre Villas-Boas's European opponents were as easy to roll over as hapless Genk.

For Fernando Torres there were two goals, his first in this competition since April 2009, when he scored for Liverpool against his current club, and yet the £50m striker will probably wonder how he did not get a hat-trick.

As well as the two goals Torres scored in the first half, Raul Meireles scored his first goal for the club and there was one for Branislav Ivanovic and for the substitute Salomon Kalou.

Since winning Belgium's Jupiler League last season, Genk have lost most of their title-winning defence to transfer or injury. They are currently ninth in the league. And last night all those problems came home to roost.

Chelsea were four up by half-time. In defence Genk were as accommodating as any attack could wish for, giving Torres in particular the kind of easy ride that he could have done with rather sooner after his arrival in January.

That is not to demean the contribution of the Chelsea striker who took his goals exceptionally well under the less than-watchful eye of the hapless Genk centre-half Abel Masuero.

Meireles scored the first on eight minutes, driving his shot low into the corner having taken the ball from Ashley Cole's pass. But the space afforded to him will have been a surprise. Three minutes later Torres stroked the ball past Laszlo Koteles having taken Frank Lampard's pass into his stride.

On 27 minutes Torres got across Masuero again and angled his header from Meireles' ball across Koteles and into the far corner. It was a masterful finish but he was not exactly under intensive pressure. There should have been more goals, before with three minutes of the half remaining, Ivanovic got above Masuero and headed in Florent Malouda's free-kick from the right.

There are not many options for a manager when his team are facing the kind of humiliation that poor old Mario Been was contemplating at half-time. What does a man do? First of all he took off the all-at-sea Masuero. Then he pretty much hoped for the best.

There was little threat from Genk and Torres should have scored when Jose Bosingwa crossed on 72 minutes. Instead there was an excellent save from Koteles and Kalou scored the rebound. It is a pity for Torres that the last game of his red card suspension means that he will not be available against QPR on Sunday. The Chelsea striker, for all the leeway he was given last night, did look sharp and alert. The criticism will be that this was only Genk and, in a way, that is fair enough. There are bigger challenges to come.