Fernando Torres’ first Chelsea double helped Andre Villas-Boas men maintain their unbeaten record in this season’s Champions League after a thumping victory over Genk at Stamford Bridge.
After Raul Meireles opened the scoring, Torres struck twice before Branislav Ivanovic’s header, and substitute Salomon Kalou’s tap in rounded off a comfortable evening.
Before the game, manager Villas-Boas, perhaps optimistically so, said he wanted to see his side play with the panache and ruthlessness of Barcelona, and after dismantling the Belgian champions will have seen signs his side can hit those dizzy heights during his tenure.
The contrast between the two sides couldn’t be have greater before kick-off, with Genk playing in the Champions League for the first time since 2002, while The Blues were in their ninth successive season in Europe’s premier club competition.
And after just eight minutes, the chasm between the two sides became greater, as Meireles, who had earlier seen Torres hit the post from his chipped pass, fired in from 25 yards after the visitors backed off the Portuguese playmaker.
Torres soon set the record straight three minutes later, sliding home after Frank Lampard, stand-in captain in the absence of John Terry, played the forward in, before finally successfully combing with his Iberian counterpart Merieles to claim his first Chelsea double.
Currently suspended from domestic competition, the Spaniard’s display was another belated reminder of his unerring quality in front of goal, with his goal drought since his move from Liverpool threatening to undermine his £50 million price tag.
The lively Florent Malouda then set up Ivanovic on the brink of half-time, with the Serb’s classy header putting the icing on the cake following a thrilling first half Chelsea display.
Second half substitute Salomon Kalou rounded off the scoring, after Torres’ close range effort had been saved by Laszlo Koteles.