After a concerning first half, Chelsea left little doubt in the second half on Wednesday against Leeds United, going on to a 5-1 victory and cementing a place in the semifinals of the Capital One Cup.
Leeds got the scoring started in the 37th minute. After David Luiz carelessly misplaced a pass, Leeds was off to the races. Jerome Thomas burst down the left sideline, finding Luciano Becchio, who smoothly swung it past Petr Cech for the goal.
Leeds went into halftime with a 1-0 lead at Elland Road. Chelsea controlled the ball for the majority of the first half and got off nine shots (including six on goal), but failed to convert. Leeds goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown made some fine saves in the early going.
Still, you got the feeling that Chelsea would eventually score, given the pressure the Blues created in the first half.
That proved to be true right away in the second half, when Victor Moses found Juan Mata and Mata fired it into the bottom corner with Ashdown barely nicking the ball. Ashdown probably should have saved that one, or at least knocked it away.
The second-half barrage continued when Branislav Ivanovic headed the ball into goal off a corner from Frank Lampard in the 65th minute, then Moses continued his stellar play, getting past a challenge before firing it into the bottom corner from 20 yards away in the 66th minute. Ashdown didn't have a chance with that shot.
Then, off a failed Leeds corner, Chelsea broke free again, as David Luiz found Eden Hazard and Hazard knew what to do with it, finishing tremendously past Ashdown in the 81st minute.
Two minutes later, even Fernando Torres got into the action. Off a block from Ashdown, Hazard fed the ball to the Spaniard, and he easily tapped it on from close range.
After a troubling first half for Chelsea, the Blues exploded in the second half. What a scary display.
Off a tremendous pass from Thomas, Becchio expertly swung the ball past Cech on the left side of goal to give Leeds a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.
Juan Matta knotted things up at one apiece, swinging the ball under Ashdown's outstretched arms in the 47th minute.
Victor Moses may have had the goal of the match in the 66th minute after Ivanovic scored, finding the left-hand side of the net past Ashdown's diving attempt.
Luciano Becchio, Leeds United: A
Luciano Becchio, who had two goals in two starts in Capital One Cup play headed into Wednesday's match, sure enough found the net again at Elland Road, knocking it past Cech off a nice feed from Jerome Thomas.
Jerome Thomas, Leeds United: B+
Jerome Thomas had some struggles early in the first half, making a poor delivery and getting beat by Cesar Azpilicueta, but he made a sharp pass to Becchio near the end of the first half, granting him a good grade.
Jamie Ashdown, Leeds United: B-
Jamie Ashdown made numerous spectacular saves, but Chelsea was just too much on Wednesday. Few goalkeepers in the world would have been able to save them. The goal by Mata should have been knocked off course, though.
Juan Mata, Chelsea: A
After strong ball placement across the field, Victor Moses found Mata on the edge of the area and Mata finding the bottom corner. It wasn't the most expert of shots (Ashdown could have given a better effort), but it found the net and that is what matters.
David Luiz, Chelsea: B-
David Luiz's poor pass late in the first half bounced back to Leeds, starting a break that ended in a Becchio goal, stunning Chelsea in the process.
But Luiz made up for it in the 81st minute with a fantastic pass to Eden Hazard for brilliant goal.
Victor Moses, Chelsea: A
Victor Moses was excellent in the second half, assisting Mata and finding the net himself with an adept move and fantastic shot. He led the second-half surge for Chelsea, making the first half look like a mirage.