Chelsea smash five past old foes Leeds to progress into semi-finals

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The Independent Online

There were last night the fragments of a great old cup tie redolent of the 1970s rivalry between these two clubs, but they have moved too far in opposite directions in modern times for Leeds United to pull off the second great shock of the round.

The five second-half goals from Chelsea buried the dream that Leeds had kindled with Luciano Becchio's first-half goal and by the time Fernando Torres put away the last of them, the misery of a wet December night in Yorkshire closed in on the home fans.

It is Rafa Benitez's side who move into the last four of the Capital One Cup, a competition for which they are now the overwhelming favourites with Swansea, Aston Villa and Bradford City making up the rest of the quartet.

As for Leeds, 12th in the Championship, it was a brutal reminder of where they stand in the pecking order. When Neil Warnock was goaded by the away support in the closing stages of the game, he responded by pointing his backside in their direction. There is no love lost.

There was rain. There was a pumped-up home crowd. There was an even more pumped-up Michael Brown rampaging around in midfield. If you nurture a nostalgia for 1970s football, and this particular club rivalry, then this really was the night.

Brown was Leeds' modern-day Billy Bremner, although of a decidedly lesser vintage. The midfielder was playing right on the edge, laying a hand on Victor Moses' shoulder in the area and risking conceding a penalty when the player went down. The referee, Andre Marriner. waved it on and it looked the right call. Chelsea created some chances but they always looked vulnerable from set-pieces.

The first half goal for Leeds, however, was beautifully worked from deep inside their own half. David Luiz, playing at centre-back, sauntered forward with the ball and failed miserably to scoop it over Sam Byram. Leeds burst onto the counter-attack with Byram switching the ball forward to Michael Tonge who then found Jerome Thomas on the left wing. His cross with the outside of his right foot was met in the centre by Becchio.

Naturally the finger of blame pointed immediately at Luiz for his carelessness in possession. Unfortunately with Oscar and Lampard as holding midfielders there was no one behind him to screen Chelsea's defence.

The goal was coming from the away side, although not as soon as Leeds had anticipated. It arrived two minutes after half-time with Torres finding Moses whose pass reached Juan Mata on the edge of the box. His shot was well-placed down to Ashdown's right but looked a little too tame to beat the goalkeeper who got a hand to the ball but did not stop it.

Eden Hazard came on for Marko Marin and the Belgian won the corner from which Chelsea scored their second. Before then Torres had a wonderful header saved by Ashdown. By the time Chelsea won the corner from Hazard's cross, put out by Byram, Leeds looked just as vulnerable from set-pieces as their opponents had in the first half.

Ivanovic met Lampard's corner with a firm header for the second corner. A minute later, Mata picked out Moses and he switched the ball to his right foot for a low drive that beat Ashdown.

It had been a great cup tie at times but it was over then. Warnock brought off Brown and El Hadji Diouf in a double-substitution that removed much of the potential aggro. It did nothing to improve the score. On 81 minutes, Luiz released a beauty of a pass right that Hazard ran on to and finished.

The fifth was a deserved goal for Torres, who rolled it in from six yards after Hazard had collected up Lampard's shot – saved by Ashdown – and squared it to the Chelsea striker. Warnock offered a handshake to Benitez at the final whistle and the interim Chelsea manager went out on to the pitch to thanks his players. The Capital One Cup is looking like a convenient cup for the new man at the Bridge.