Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal
against Monterrey during their Club World Cup semifinal in
Yokohama, south of Tokyo. REUTERS/Kyodo
Fernando Torres continued his recent resurgence as
Chelsea confidently brushed aside Mexico's Monterrey 3-1 to
reach the final of the Club World Cup in Japan.
The English side and their interim manager Rafael Benitez
will be under pressure to beat Brazil's Corinthians in
Sunday's final after becoming the first holders to exit the
Champions League at the group stage last week.
"We can't afford to lose the final," Benitez, who won the
tournament with Inter Milan in 2010 but lost in the 2005
final with Liverpool, told reporters.
"We will see if Corinthians can play at our level. They have
Brazilian quality so we know it will be a difficult match."
Juan Mata finished off a classy move in the 17th minute to
give Chelsea the lead, smashing in a left-foot shot after a
low ball from Ashley Cole, sent clear by a back-heel from
Spain teammate Torres added Chelsea's second with a deflected
drive 20 seconds after the break, his fifth goal in three
Mata's cross was turned into his own net by Darvin Chavez
moments later to effectively kill off the game, although Aldo
de Nigris grabbed a consolation for Monterrey in stoppage
"It's nice to be scoring goals again," said a smiling Torres,
still hugely popular with Japanese fans despite only recently
emerging from an alarming goal drought.
"To hear the fans chanting my name meant a lot to me.
Hopefully I can take that form into the final," added the
Spaniard, one of the world's deadliest strikers under Benitez
"This is a massively important tournament for us. We came a
long way and it's a trophy we have to win."
Benitez said Torres, on the score sheet for the third
successive game for the first time in a Chelsea shirt, was
close to his best.
"Fernando is sharper now and has more confidence," said
Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo last month and has
yet to win over the Chelsea faithful.
"If we can keep playing at the same level, he will continue
to score goals."
European teams have won the last five Club World Cup
tournaments. Barcelona lifted the trophy in 2009 and 2011 and
Manchester United were the only English winners in 2008.
"European teams are the best in the world," said Monterrey
coach Victor Vucetich, understandably frustrated by his
side's calamitous start to the second half.
"They pay the most money. Clubs like Chelsea, Manchester
United and Barcelona can go out and buy the best players from
all over the world. We made mistakes and it cost us dear."
Corinthians, far from convincing in their 1-0 semi-final
victory over Egypt's Al-Ahly, won the first Club World Cup in