Fernando Torres impressed as Chelsea overcame a potentially-tricky Capital One Cup tie away to Swindon Town with a 2-0 win at the County Ground.
With a raucous atmosphere cheering on the League 1 side, Chelsea professionally went about their task and took the lead through Torres’ close-range finish in the 29th minute.
Just six minutes later, the Spanish striker showed great link-up play to play in Ramires and the Brazilian sent Chelsea through to the next round with a clever finish to the delight of Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea’s Portuguese manager rang the changes for the cup tie as he made 10 switches from the side that beat Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday and all eyes were on the recalled Juan Mata. Meanwhile, Swindon had not been beaten at home since a 1-0 loss to Bury on the 26th February so hopes were high for an upset ahead of kick-off.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, Chelsea upped the ante but met Wes Foderingham in top form guarding the Swindon net. Mata did really well to break from midfield and split the Swindon defence with a clever pass, but Torres finish lacked a clinical nature and the home shot-stopper made a good save to keep it out from close range.
The former Liverpool and Atletico Madrid striker would not be denied for long though as he gave Chelsea an advantage midway through the first half. Ramires touched it through for Mata with a nice pass and the attacking midfielder crashed a poked shot towards goal. Foderingham made a smart save but couldn’t push the ball away to safety as Torres pounced to convert from a tight angle. It was the striker’s first domestic goal of the season and could give the Blues another striking option if his form continues.
Swindon did dominate possession throughout the first half, but they were caught on the break in the 35th minute and the game was already out of Swindon’s grasp. Torres showed amazing skill to twist and turn past two midfielders before sliding the ball through to meet Ramires’ run and the Brazilian finished with a lethal nature to make it 2-0.
The League 1 side had a real mountain to climb at this point but they gave a good go of getting a goal back before half-time. Yasir Kasim forced Mark Schwarzer into a good save with a rasping drive from 30 yards out while just after, the Australian goalkeeper kept out Alex Pritchard’s powerful strike after the Chelsea defence just backed off the Tottenham Hotspur loanee.
Pritchard continued to be a problem for Chelsea’s defence in the second half, but his curling free-kick from 30 yards was comfortably saved by the Premier League side’s experienced goalkeeper. In truth, Schwarzer made the save look easy thanks to some tremendous positional work.
The Blues will be kicking themselves that it was only a 2-0 win though as Willian wasted two great chances in the final ten minutes. The first one came from Foderingham pushing Torres’ powerful low shot into the path of Chelsea’s summer signing, but somehow, the Brazilian couldn’t score his first goal for the club as he blazed well wide from close range.
It was a bad miss and the guilt of the error could have played a part in Willian’s decision to shoot in the 83rd minute. The winger raced free and could have squared across for Torres to tap in a second of the game but Willian went for goal from a tight angle and the ball flew well wide.
In the end, the misses didn’t matter. The full-time whistle signalled progress for Chelsea into the fourth round, while Swindon can take pride in pushing a Premier League title contender as much as they did.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)