After the first half whistle blew, it looked like Chelsea were about to experience a repeat of the Corinthians match – dominating the encounter with a lot of chances but not necessarily taking them. Going into the break trailing 1-0 was especially tough after the team had a number of good chances to score. Victor Moses had a penalty appeal turned down and a good shot saved by Ashdown.
A very poor mistake by Branislav Ivanovic allowed Leeds to take the lead. At that time, it looked like Chelsea were searching for players to step up in various areas of the pitch, and boy they did in the second half.
It was a truly amazing performance in the second half, which saw Chelsea score five goals. It all began with a neat passing play that led to Juan Mata scoring after just a minute into the second half. Ivanovic scored from a corner and Victor Moses increased in the Chelsea advantage minutes later with a long-range effort. From then on in, it was a comfortable match and Chelsea added further goals through Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres.
This was the first crucial victory of the Benitez era, and it is something that sees us through into the semi-final. Chelsea will now play against Swansea in a two legged semi-final, with the first leg taking place at Stamford Bridge in January 7.
Benitez on Chelsea’s victory:
“I thought the performance was fantastic, not just the second half but the first half as well.
“You can see that in every game the team is a little bit stronger.
“At half-time I told the players to keep doing the same things – keep the ball, play a high tempo, press and when we are in possession pass the ball as quickly as possible.
“The reaction of the team in the second half was fantastic after coming back from Japan with jet lag and changing some players.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand (Cole 74), Lampard (c), Oscar, Marin (Hazard 60), Mata (Ferreira 85), Moses, Torres
Goals: Mata 46, Ivanovic 64, Moses 66, Hazard 80, Torres 83
Leeds United (4-4-2): Ashdown, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Peltier (c), Green, Brown (Norris 72), Tonge, Thomas (White 68), Becchio, Diouf (McCormack 72)
Goals: Becchio 36