x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Torres stars to set up return to Madrid

Liverpool cruise to a 4-1 victory over Benfica to overturn a first-leg deficit and reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Fernando Torres, left, provides another clinical finish as Liverpool run out 4-1 winners against Benfica at Anfield.
Fernando Torres, left, provides another clinical finish as Liverpool run out 4-1 winners against Benfica at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL // Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 victory over Benfica to overturn a first-leg deficit and reach the Europa League semi-finals last night. Fernando Torres scored twice as Liverpool wiped out Benfica's 2-1 advantage from last week to advance 5-3 on aggregate. Liverpool will now travel to Torres' former club Atletico Madrid on April 22 and host the second leg the following Thursday. The 2005 Champions League winners crashed out of the competition at the group stage and the Europa League now offers the only chance of ending a four-year trophy drought. While Benfica are on course to win the Portuguese title, Liverpool is sixth in the English Premier League, four points adrift of the fourth Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, Bobby Zamora scored the winning goal after just 21 seconds as Fulham beat Wolfsburg 1-0 to join Liverpool in the semi-finals. Zamora picked up a short pass from Zoltan Gera, turned past Jan Simunek and slotted his finish inside the right-hand post to stun the home side and add to Fulham's 2-1 lead from the first leg last week. The English team held on to progress 3-1 on aggregate and will play another German side, Hamburg, in the last four. For Hamburg, Mladen Petric scored a brace and Jose Paolo Guerrero added a late third as the Germans overcame Standard Liege 5-2 on aggregate.

* AP