Torres steers Chelsea into Club World Cup final

A resurgent Fernando Torres scored his fifth goal in three

matches to help Chelsea reach the Club World Cup final with a 3-1

victory over Monterrey on Thursday.

The Spain striker scored the second goal for the Champions

League winners just 16 seconds into the second half.

”He’s doing well. He is much sharper,” said Chelsea manager

Rafa Benitez, who was hired last month. ”I hope it will be more of

the same in the future.”

Torres has now scored in three consecutive matches for the first

time since joining Chelsea for around $80 million in January 2011

from Liverpool, where he also played under compatriot Benitez.

And with 12 goals now this season, Torres has surpassed last

season’s haul as he enters the second half of the campaign.

”It’s a run, and that’s good for him and good for us,” Benitez

said. ”Hopefully it will continue.”

The final on Sunday will be the first for Chelsea and Copa

Libertadores champ Corinthians, which edged Egypt’s Al-Ahly 1-0 in

the other semifinal on Wednesday.

”It was a good game for us,” Benitez said. ”We had good

tempo, good play and a lot of possibilities for us. I am pleased

with the performance of our team.”

Torres put Chelsea up 2-0 when he took a pass from Eden Hazard

and hit a left-footed shot that deflected in off a Monterrey

defender. Two minutes later, Juan Mata’s cross was knocked in by

Monterrey defender Darvin Chavez for an own goal that made it


CONCACAF champion Monterrey finally scored through Aldo De

Nigris in injury time. Monterrey will face Al-Ahly in the

third-place game on Sunday.

”We regret that we lost the way we did,” Monterrey coach

Victor Vuctich said. ”There was a short time where we lost our


Chelsea scored the only goal of the first half in the 17th

minute. Oscar made a nifty back-heel pass to Ashley Cole, who

centered the ball to Mata, who powered a low drive from 15


”To win the way we won was very important,” Mata said. ”We

want to win this trophy to be the world champs. We were focused on

scoring more goals and this has given us confidence for the


Chelsea’s form has risen of late, with Benitez’s imprint on the

club starting to show since he replaced the sacked Roberto Di

Matteo last month.

Chelsea became the first Champions League winner to fail to

reach the knockout stage, but has now won three straight


Benitez has led a team to the Club World Cup final for the third

time, following Liverpool (lost) in 2005 and Inter Milan (won) in


Europe has won the last five finals, and Manchester United is

the only English club to have won it, in 1999 and 2008.