Chelsea scored five second-half goals to rout host Leeds United 5-1 and advance to a League Cup soccer semifinal against Premier League rival Swansea City.
Juan Mata, Branislav Ivanovic, Victor Moses, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored at Elland Road last night after Luciano Becchio put Leeds ahead in the 37th minute. The Blues have now scored 16 goals in three matches in England’s second-tier cup competition this season.
Chelsea’s victory came three days after the European champions lost 1-0 to Brazil’s Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup final in Japan. The Blues secured the last of their four League Cup titles in 2007.
“Coming back from Japan with the jetlag, we haven’t slept too much,” Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez said on his team’s website. “The players are tired, but the second half was fantastic. To have this reaction, mentally, and after working so hard, I am really pleased with them.”
The other semifinal features five-time winner Aston Villa against Bradford City, which plays in England’s fourth tier. The competition winner secures a spot in next season’s Europa League.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Chelsea hit back with goals from Mata, Ivanovic and Moses in a 20-minute span. Hazard and Torres scored in the last nine minutes as Chelsea got five goals or more for the third straight League Cup game.
Chelsea and Bradford, which upset Arsenal in the quarterfinals, will host the semifinal openers.
“When you go to a semifinal any team will be difficult,” Benitez added. “Swansea is a good team who try to play football, and because we are so close to the final their motivation will be there.”
Semifinal dates: 1st legs: Jan. 8: Bradford vs Aston Villa
Jan. 9: Chelsea vs Swansea
2nd legs: Jan. 22: Aston Villa v Bradford;
Jan. 23: Swansea v Chelsea.
Final: Feb. 24 at Wembley Stadium in London.