LONDON - Fernando Torres scored a hat-trick as Chelsea thrashed QPR 6-1 yesterday to revive their bid for automatic qualification for next season's Champions League.
Torres scored twice in a first half that saw Chelsea 4-0 up in the 25th minute at Stamford Bridge, with Daniel Sturridge taking just 46 seconds to open the scoring and Chelsea captain John Terry on target as well.
Spain striker Torres completed his treble in the 64th minute.
Florent Malouda made it 6-0 in the 80th minute, before Djibril Cisse scored for QPR six minutes from time at Stamford Bridge.
Victory took Champions League finalists Chelsea up into fifth place, two points ahead of Tottenham, who were due to play relegation-threatened Blackburn later Sunday, and just a point behind fourth-placed Newcastle.
Only the top four clubs at the end of the Premier League season are due to qualify for next term's Champions League, although that number will be reduced to three if Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in this season's final.
Defeat left QPR above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, with two games of the season left.
For Chelsea, who overcame the handicap of having Terry sent off to record a remarkable 2-2 draw away to champions Barcelona on Tuesday that saw them into the Champions League, this west London derby win capped a memorable week.
It also set them up for tomorrows match against Newcastle, which precedes Chelsea's FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley next weekend.