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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Torres scores hat trick; Spurs stay in contention


LONDON — Fernando Torres got his first hat trick in more than 2½ years on Sunday to lead Chelsea to a 6-1 English Premier League win over Queens Park Rangers.

Tottenham returned to fourth place with a 2-0 win over Blackburn but Torres' first hat trick since September 2009 helped show that Chelsea is the in-form team of three aiming to qualify for Europe's club top competition.

In their first match since reaching this season's Champions League final, the Blues hit four goals in the opening 25 minutes in heavy rain at Stamford Bridge.

Daniel Sturridge scored after 49 seconds, John Terry headed in a corner and the rejuvenated Torres scored twice to give Chelsea a big early lead.

Torres struck again in the 64th for his first treble since Liverpool's 6-1 win over Hull 31 months ago, and substitute Florent Malouda scored in the 80th.

Djibril Cisse got a late goal for relegation-threatened QPR.

After just eight goals in his first 61 games since joining Chelsea for $81.3 million, Torres has four in his past two matches.

"I was feeling very good, very sharp, playing well, but I couldn't score," Torres said. "Now I feel I'm not playing as well as before, but I am scoring goals, which is the important thing for the strikers."

The Spain striker's first goal was very similar to the one that earned a 2-2 draw at Barcelona in midweek, a result that carried Chelsea to next month's Champions League final. He knocked the ball around the goalkeeper with one touch and rolled it into an unguarded net with his next.

A large number of Chelsea fans jeered and taunted QPR defender Anton Ferdinand throughout for his accusation earlier this season that Terry had racially abused him.

Terry lost the England captaincy and faces a criminal trial after the European Championship in the summer.

Real moves closer


MADRID — Karim Benzema scored two second-half goals as Spanish leader Real Madrid closed in on its first league title in four years by strolling to a 3-0 victory over Sevilla.

The France striker struck twice in quick succession early in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium as Madrid bounced back from its Champions League semifinal exit to Bayern Munich.

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