Fernando Torres ended a five-month goal drought with two strikes in Chelsea’s 5-2 win against Leicester City in the quarterfinals of English soccer’s F.A. Cup. His former team Liverpool beat Stoke City 2-1 to advance.
“I needed those goals, I’ve been working so hard to get them,” Torres told ESPN yesterday. “the job of a striker is to score goals and if you don’t do it people think you’re playing badly.”
Torres, who became the most expensive signing by an English club when he joined Chelsea from Liverpool for 50 million pounds ($79.2 million) in January 2011, last scored on Oct. 19 in a Champions League match against Genk. He now has six goals this season.
Chelsea will play Tottenham or Bolton in the semifinals, with Liverpool facing Everton or Sunderland.
Everton and Sunderland face a replay following a 1-1 tie two days ago, while the quarterfinal between Spurs and Bolton was abandoned just before halftime after Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field. Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and remains in a critical condition in the hospital.
At Stamford Bridge, Gary Cahill, Salomon Kalou and Raul Meireles also got goals for the Blues, who have won the competition three times in the past five seasons. Jermaine Beckford and Ben Marshall scored for Leicester of the second tier Championship.
Cahill got the opening goal on 12 minutes with a header from a corner by Juan Mata. Torres then slid the ball forward for Kalou to score five minutes later.
Torres headed straight at goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel later in the half, while at the other end of the field Neil Danns tested Petr Cech with a low shot.
Halftime substitute Florent Malouda had a long-range shot on target after 52 minutes and Torres had an effort deflected wide.
Torres ended his wait for a goal on 67 minutes. The Spain striker didn’t connect cleanly with the ball, which squeezed past the dive of Schmeichel into the bottom corner of the net.
Beckford pulled a goal back before Torres headed in from a Meireles corner with five minutes remaining. Marshall scored soon after, with Meireles adding the final goal in injury time.
Chelsea has now won all four matches since former player Roberto Di Matteo was appointed as manager until the end of the season after Andre Villas-Boas was fired.
Di Matteo said Torres deserved to score.
Reward for Hard Work
“He works so hard for the team,” Di Matteo told ESPN. “You get rewarded when you work hard in life and I think we’re all happy that he helped us win.”
Liverpool’s bid for two trophies this season continued with the defeat of last season’s runner-up. The Reds won the Carling Cup last month.
“It’s never easy against a tough, physical side like Stoke,” Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told ITV. “In the second half I think we took over and controlled the game.”
Luis Suarez got the first goal at Anfield midway through the first half. The forward took possession in the middle of the field, exchanged passes with Maxi Rodriguez and fired a long-range shot into the net.
Stoke replied three minutes later when Crouch headed into the net against his former club.
Stewart Downing restored Liverpool’s advantage on 57 minutes with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area past Thomas Sorensen.
Before it lifted the Carling Cup, Liverpool hadn’t won a trophy since it claimed a seventh F.A. Cup success in 2006.
“It’ll be a fantastic feeling if we can deliver another cup for the supporters,” Gerrard said.