Chelsea striker Fernando Torres doubled his goal tally for 2013 with a pair as the Blues defeated Rubin Kazan, 3-1, at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarterfinal series between the teams. The goals came as a relief to the $76 million striker as well as to interim coach Rafael Benitez.
"We could see today the confidence, that [Torres] can work hard, so physically he is fine,” Benitez said. "I think he will play well and score goals until the end of the season." With Demba Ba cup-tied due to having played for Newcastle earlier in the competition, Torres is Chelsea’s only striking option for the rest of its Europa League matches.
On Thursday, the Spaniard opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a tap-in following a long ball from David Luiz. Nigeria internationalVictor Moses then made it 2-0 with a fantastic strike on 32 minutes, beforeNatcho pulled one back from the spot four minutes before the break after John Terry’s arm stopped a goal-bound shot in the area. Torres then restored the Blues’ two-goal lead with a fine header from a Juan Mata cross in the 70th minute.
Even though his team managed to grab an away goal, Rubin coachKurban Berdyev cut a downcast figure following the loss. “I guess we just got really scared of them at some point at the beginning, especially in the first 10 to 15 minutes,” he said. “We were getting better and in the second half we were much better, then I guess the third goal just ruined everything."