Skip to main content

Torres hits hat-trick as Chelsea rout QPR

* Spurs beat Blackburn to go fourth

* QPR and Blackburn in deep trouble (Adds quotes)

By Justin Palmer

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - Fernando Torres, suddenly oozing confidence in front of goal, netted his first Chelsea hat-trick as the Champions League finalists capped a sensational week by routing Queens Park Rangers 6-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.

Chelsea remain firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish along with Tottenham Hotspur, who took fourth spot on 62 points ahead of Newcastle (62) and their London rivals (61) by beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at White Hart Lane with goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker.

Torres, a forlorn figure at Stamford Bridge for much of the 15 months since his 50 million-pound ($81.19 million) move from Liverpool, produced three incisive finishes to add to his late goal at Barcelona on Tuesday which eased Chelsea into a Champions League final with Bayern Munich.

The Spaniard struck twice in the first half after the home side had led through Daniel Sturridge's goal after just 46 seconds and John Terry's header.

Torres completed his hat-trick on 64 minutes by side-footing past Paddy Kenny from Juan Mata's pass, a goal that had beaming owner Roman Abramovich high-fiving the fans around him.

"It's been a very hard week for us, but very important with the win (on aggregate) against Barcelona and this important result," Torres, who had just three Premier League goals and eight in all competitions this season before lining up against QPR, told Sky Sports.

"We must keep on getting points. I'm very happy with the hat-trick, hopefully the first of many."


Leaders Manchester United (83 points) and second-placed Manchester City (80), who face each other on Monday, are guaranteed Champions League places next season while third-placed Arsenal (66) are in pole position to secure the last automatic slot.

But it is no longer certain the fourth-placed team will get into the Champions League qualifiers. If Chelsea beat Bayern in the final next month and finish outside the top four, they would take the last qualifying spot.

While Chelsea's 2-2 draw at Barcelona - which secured a 3-2 semi-final win on aggregate - was based on defensive resilience and counter-attacking nous, they showed their attacking flair right from the whistle in Sunday's demolition of more humble opponents.

Sturridge began the goal glut when he beat Kenny with a vicious shot from outside the box and the hosts doubled their lead on 13 minutes when Terry, sent off at Barcelona and banned for the final against Bayern, headed in Mata's corner.

Torres got his first six minutes later when he ran on to Salomon Kalou's angled pass to round Kenny and net. Then after 25 minutes he gleefully pounced after a mix up between Kenny and defender Nedum Onouha.

After Torres crisply put away his third, substitute Florent Malouda added a sixth before Djibril Cisse netted for the relegation-threatened visitors.

Interim coach Roberto Di Matteo said Chelsea, who also have an FA Cup final appearance against Liverpool to look forward to, were brimming with confidence