Chelsea win to finish third
Sun, 19 May 2013 19:01:00
Fernando Torres scored the winner to allow Rafa Benitez to end with a win as Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The victory, after Juan Mata and Steven Naismith traded goals, ensured Chelsea secured third spot in the Premier League and meant David Moyes' spell in charge at Everton ended in defeat.
Chelsea had the first chance of the game through Demba Ba and the Senegal striker had a role in the opener moments later when Tim Howard could only parry his shot into the path of Mata.
If that was supposed to settle the home side it did not work as Everton piled on the pressure and the visitors soon had their equaliser after just a quarter of an hour.
David Luiz miscontrolled an interception and Naismith found Victor Anichebe who did well to play his team-mate in on goal with a reverse pass before the Scot did the rest with a neat dinked finish.
The Toffees almost took the lead in comical fashion soon afterwards when Darron Gibson's deflected shot ricocheted off the post into the face of Petr Cech and back onto the woodwork.
Torres and Kevin Mirallas should each have done better with good chances before Steven Pienaar curled just over the top of the bar as the two teams traded blows in an open game.
After the break it was Chelsea that stepped things up as they took charge of the contest with Howard saving well from Gary Cahill before Branislav Ivanovic should have done better.
Everton were rattled with Phil Jagielka losing the ball to give Ba a chance that Sylvain Distin did well to block, before the England man redeemed himself with a fine challenge to deny Cahill soon after.
Nikica Jelavic replaced Naismith midway through the second half and could have put Everton ahead soon after only to divert Leighton Baines' centre just wide of the far post when unmarked.
It proved costly when Victor Moses showed far better composure at the other end to head down for Torres to lash the winner past Howard and score his first Premier League goal since December.
Jelavic went close twice more but Everton could not find an equaliser so it was Benitez and not Moyes who would get to bow out with a win.