Rafael Benitez ensured Chelsea would end the season third after victory over Everton at Stamford Bridge in his last game as manager.
The conclusion of the Spaniard’s interim reign coincided with David Moyes’ final match as Everton boss before he leaves for Manchester United and the 50-year-old Scot will be displeased that he ended 11-years at the club with a defeat.
And he won’t have been happy with the manner in which is side went behind in the seventh minute. Demba Ba was given time and space to shoot at Tim Howard and the American could only parry into the path of a grateful Juan Mata to slot home.
But it got better for Moyes as he watched Steven Naismith strip David Luiz of possession just before the quarter hour and played a neat interchange with Victor Anichebe before beating Petr Cech with a composed finish. The Toffees almost went ahead in bizarre fashion soon after as Darron Gibson’s strike hit the post and rebounded into Cech’s face before clipping the woodwork again.
Steven Pienaar then curled over, while Howard was called into action after the break to deny Gary Cahill and Sylvain Distin had to block a Ba effort as Chelsea sought to re-take the lead. But it was the visitors that went closest to scoring a second but substitute Nikicia Jelavic left his shooting boots back in Merseyside.
His squanderings would prove costly with 15 minutes left as Victor Moses cushioned a header down for Torres to lash the ball in at the near post from close range to ensure Benitez’s short stay in west London finished positively.
Rafael Benitez post-match: “I am really proud because we have a team in transition and you can see young players, playing 69 games and doing well to the last game. I’m pleased for them and really proud.”
David Moyes post-match: “It’s emotional because it’s the last time I walk away from the players but part of the job is you move on. It’s rare to stay in a job for 11 years so I’m thankful for getting that opportunity and hopeful they’re in a strong position to push on. It’s really not sunk in.”
Man of the Match…Fernando Torres: Sealed victory for Chelsea with a clinical close range finish after being handed an unexpected starting slot. Season is ending at the wrong time for Torres after rediscovering his best form in recent weeks.
Flop of the Match…Nikica Jelavic: Unlike his Chelsea counterpart Jelavic will be glad the campaign is over. Struggled for goals this term and a number of squandered opportunities after his introduction from the bench summed up his season.