Fernando Torres continued his recent bright spell of form as Chelsea booked their spot in the Club World Cup final with a 3-1 win over an outclassed Monterrey side in Yokohama.
Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, David Luiz - who was in his element in a midfield role - and Oscar also showed their considerable class in a one-sided semi-final at a sparsely populated Nissan Stadium.
The outgoing Champions League holders ran out comfortable winners with Mata (17), Torres (46) and a Darvin Chavez own goal (48) ensuring the English side of their final place against Brazilian side Corinthians in what comes down to the traditional final match of this tournament between the champions of Europe and South America.
Jesus De Nigris benefited from Chelsea nodding off to score one minute into two added on due to stoppage time, but that should not detract from a polished performance by the London side, who could have won by more at a venue that hosted the World Cup final in 2002.
Corinthians and their vociferous band of 20,000 travelling fans are likely to provide sturdier opponents on Sunday. That much is certain with Monterrey due to face Al Ahly of Egypt before the final in the third/fourth place play-off.
With Luiz, Hazard, Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic all threatening to undo Monterrey in the opening 14 minutes, it was of minimal surprise when Mata struck.
Ashley Cole bounded onto a lovely backheel from Oscar to supply Mata who swept the ball into the net from the edge of the box with a low drive that left the goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco and his leggings with no chance in the Mexican team's goal. It was Mata's fourth goal in as many games for Chelsea.
Chelsea finished off the match before the 50th minute in a freezing Yokohama as Torres, coming off two goals in Chelsea's 3-1 win at Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday, saw an effort deflect off a Monterrey player before flying into the net after some lovely wing play by Hazard.
Monterrey were still staggering from shipping that goal within 20 seconds of the start of the second half when Chelsea moved three goals clear as Torres played in Mata, whose cutback was turned into his net by the unfortunate Chavez.
Chelsea appeared to be on the brink of a fourth goal when Hazard danced into the opposition box, but his effort was clawed away by Orozco.
The Mexican side's goalkeeper again proved he was not haphazard when he repelled a Luiz shot seconds later. .
De Nigris was the main threat for Monterrey throughout the match, and scored a consolation goal for his side when he clipped a shot beyond Cech with seconds left of the match.
Chelsea threw on Frank Lampard, Victor Moses and Paulo Ferreira in the final 30 minutes or so, but the work had long since been done by their early thrust in the second half.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fernando Torres (Chelsea): It is a well trotted out phrase, but looked much more like himself up front. Whatever a £50 million striker is supposed to look like in such company.
Chelsea: Cech 7, Azpilicueta 7, Ivanovic 7, Cahill 7, Cole 7, Luiz 8, Mikel 6, Mata 8, Oscar 8, Hazard 8, Torres 8..subs: Paulo Ferreira 6, Frank Lampard 6, Victor Moses 6
Monterrey: Orozco 6, Perez 6, Mier 6, Basanta, Chavez 6; Ayovi 6, Meza 6, Cardozo 5; Corona 6, De Nigris 8, Delgado 5..subs: Osorio 6, Carreno 6, Solis 6
- Sports & Recreation
- Fernando Torres
- Eden Hazard
- David Luiz