Chelsea Shake off the Japan Hangover; Blues Ease Past Their Old Rivals

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

Chelsea Shake off the Japan Hangover; Blues Ease Past Their Old Rivals


Leeds United 1 Chelsea 5 CHELSEA defied jet lag and a Championship side with a point to prove as they overturned a one-goal deficit with a five-goal second-half show to beat Leeds and make the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Three days after losing the Club World Cup final in Japan, the last thing a Rafael Benitez team sporting just four changes could have done with was a trip to a rainsoaked Elland Road to meet a team with whom they share a bitter rivalry.

The omens were not looking good either when Luciano Becchio gave Leeds a first-half lead but, as if they had never been away, Chelsea ramped things up after the break.

Three goals in a 20-minute spell from Juan Mata, Branislav Ivanovic and Victor Moses spun things in their favour, with Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres adding extra gloss late on.

On the balance of play it was the least the European champions deserved, with Benitez's men at least proving they have still got what it takes on home soil following their disappointing loss to Corinthians on Sunday and their Champions League exit.

That they had home goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown to thank for the goal that got them level but it ended up largely irrelevant, with their cutting edge in the final third more than enough and, in the process, allowing Benitez to silence his opposite Neil Warnock, who is not the Spaniard's number one fan.

That Warnock remains unhappy for what he feels was Benitez's part in his Sheffield United side's relegation in 2007 was one of a number of sideshows last night.

There were just 12 minutes gone when Becchio claimed to have been elbowed by David Luiz and team-mate Michael Brown hunting down the Brazilian in retribution.

Frank Lampard was the next to become embroiled in a flashpoint, clattering into the back of El-Hadji Diouf.

Brown then crumbled under what he claimed was a shoulder from Mata.

In the 37th minute, Becchio put Leeds ahead with a counter-attack goal.

After Luiz made a hash of a foray forward, Michael Tonge picked the ball up in centre midfield and ran into Chelsea's half, releasing Jerome Thomas on the left. …

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