Torres takes advantage of Belgian generosity
Chelsea 5 Genk 0
They wore a fuchsia-coloured kit, their manager was called Mr Been and they capitulated to give Chelsea their biggest-ever home win in Champions League football: if only all Andre Villas-Boas' 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. This was not Champions League, it was more like the third round of the FA Cup, just without the dignity for the plucky little underdogs.
Even Villas-Boas' legendary levels of politeness were stretched when he was asked to sum up the contribution of the Belgian champions who have found themselves in all sorts of trouble since they won the Jupiler League last season. Most of their championship-winning defence has either been sold or lost to injury and it showed last night when they went in four goals down at half-time.
This was fill-yer-boots time for Torres who picked off Genk with two very nicely-taken finishes in the first half, the first time he has scored more than one goal in a game for Chelsea. One miss aside he looked good but this was Genk. He would have got a tougher time off Anton Ferdinand at Queen's Park Rangers on Sunday. It is a pity that having found his groove he will be suspended for the visit to Loftus Road.
In midfield, Oriol Romeu was given his first start for the club in the Champions League and looked impressive. Villas-Boas said later that the boy from Barcelona had been given the "best possible education" at his former club. With Raul Meireles alongside him scoring his first goal for the club you could see again that a new order, if not quite a new team, is forming under Villas-Boas.
Once again he left John Terry out the squad, as he had done in the first home Champions League game of the season against Bayer Leverkusen. There was also no place in the squad for Didier Drogba but this is the way it is going to be under Villas-Boas where everyone must wait his turn.
Chelsea find themselves in a very strong position on top of Group E with Bayer Leverkusen in second place a point behind them. The game against the Germans on 23 November will probably prove decisive as to who wins the group but before then Chelsea have a trip to Belgium to face Genk again.
From the moment they walked out in those pink shirts, the Belgians did not look right and it was not long before they found themselves in much deeper trouble. There are still some good players in this Genk team, most notably the winger Kevin de Bruyne, who Chelsea tried to sign in the summer, but they looked like a side who had given up the ghost.
There was a match boycott threatened by some elements of the Chelsea support unhappy at the rise in ticket prices which looked as if it had been largely seen off by the club's tactic of giving away tickets. In the end the story was more about Genk's defence having the evening off rather than Chelsea's supporters.
In the summer Genk sold their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea (who loaned him to Atletico Madrid). Their coach Franky Vercauteren left for a lucrative club deal in Abu Dhabi. And currently ninth in the league this season all those problems came home to roost last night.
Torres was marked in the first half by the Genk centre-half Abel Masuero who was so bad his substitution at half-time was the surest bet in the stadium. Still, the Spaniard looked sharp, although he should have done better than hit the post in the seventh minute when Meireles' ball picked him out in the penalty area.
Meireles scored the first on eight minutes, driving his shot low and well into the corner having taken the ball from Ashley Cole's pass. But the space and time afforded to him bordered on the luxurious. Three minutes later Torres stroked the ball past Laszlo Koteles having taken Frank Lampard's pass into his stride.
Only David Luiz looked like a liability at times, getting himself booked far too early in the half than is healthy for a centre-back. 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, Florent Malouda missed from a Torres cut-back. Then with three minutes of the half remaining, Branislav Ivanovic got above Masuero and headed in Malouda's free-kick from the right, given away by the sheer clumsiness of Daniel Pudil.
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. His side had let him down dreadfully. His defence had surrendered and he faced around £100m of attacking talent champing at the bit to do even more damage in the second half. What does a man do?
First of all he took off Masuero who had been in dereliction of duty for at least three of Chelsea's four goals in the first half. Then he pretty much hoped for the best.
The margin of Chelsea's lead permitted Villas-Boas to give Cole a rest at half-time and later Lampard also came off. 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, when the ball came loose, substitute Salomon Kalou scored from the rebound.
Goodbye Genk; hello the knockout round of the Champions League. This team is starting to look more distinctively like Villas-Boas' team with every game, and he is doing it with the minimum of fuss.
Sam's the man for Leverkusen
Young striker Sidney Sam got the winner as Bayer Leverkusen beat Valencia 2-1 at the BayArena to strengthen their hold on second place in Group E. Bayer fought back from 1-0 down at half-time, Jonas putting the Spanish side ahead in the 24th minute, to win with two goals in five minutes. Germany international Andre Schurrle equalised in the 52nd minute and soon afterwards Sam struck to seal Bayer's second successive home win.
Latest in Sport
James Rodriguez to Real Madrid: Would Colombian star fit in with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale?
William Carvalho to Arsenal? Gunners make new enquiry for £35m rated midfielder
Manchester United transfer news: More signings expected, indicates Ed Woodward
Chelsea transfer news: Completed summer deals - including Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas
Liverpool transfer news: Loic Remy, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi on verge of Anfield moves
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains