Torres double ends Benitez's search for league win


Associated Press

Posted on December 8, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 8 at 4:04 PM

LONDON (AP) — Fernando Torres scored his second double of the week and Chelsea's search for a Premier League win under Rafa Benitez ended with a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta's pair of penalties secured Arsenal's victory over highflying West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea halted a seven-game winless run in the league — three under Benitez.

Torres, who scored twice in midweek as the defending champions exited the Champions League, scored his first domestic goals in two months at Sunderland and then set up Juan Mata after the break.

Chelsea remains third but went seven points behind leader Manchester United, which is at second-place Manchester City on Sunday.

Arsenal rose from 10th to sixth after Arteta scored twice from the spot in a 2-0 victory over fifth-place West Brom.

Queens Park Rangers remains stuck at the bottom without a win after being held to a 2-2 draw at Wigan. But Southampton climbed out of the relegation zone and moved past Wigan on goal difference by beating Reading 1-0.

Aston Villa is between between Wigan and Southampton after being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Stoke, which had defender Ryan Shotton sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offense.

Reading and QPR were joined by Sunderland in the drop zone after the northeast side helped Chelsea to bounce back from its European setback.

Unlike Torres' goals against FC Nordsjaelland, which couldn't help Chelsea progress in the Champions League, his double on Saturday were crucial.

The Spain striker volleyed the ball into the net with the studs of his boot in the 11th minute at Sunderland.

And he converted his first penalty kick in English soccer on the stroke of halftime after Seb Larsson had fouled Ramires as the ball was just about to go out for a goal kick.

Torres had seven goals in 21 matches in all competitions this season under Roberto Di Matteo, but has now scored four in five games under Benitez, his former manager at Liverpool who replaced the Italian last month.

At Emirates Stadium, Arsenal halted a three-game run without a win after fortuitously being awarded the first penalty, which Arteta converted in the 26th.

Santi Cazorla went down lightly under Steven Reid's challenge when his shin only appeared to be clipped slightly.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke said there was "zero contact."

"I'm not sure what the referee saw but it was a bad decision for us," he said. "It changed the shape of the afternoon."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his player told him there was contact.

"I'm sorry if it wasn't a penalty, but I have spoken to Santi and he said he had been touched and lost his balance," Wenger said.

No one disputed Arteta's second penalty in the 64th after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Chris Brunt.

"I'm proud of the victory today because it's important for our season when our backs are to the wall, because our spirit has been questioned because of the flat performance last week," Wenger said.

Swansea, Arsenal's conquerors last weekend, lost for the first time in six weeks on Saturday as Norwich won 4-3 in south Wales.

A Swansea fan was later arrested for allegedly making a racial gesture toward Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong.


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bayern Munich won 2-0 in Augsburg to extend its lead in the Bundesliga as defending champion Borussia Dortmund went down 3-2 with 10 men at home against Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Goals from Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez helped to lift Bayern 11 points ahead of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, which plays on Sunday in Hannover.

In Dortmund, the defending champion got off to a fast start, with Marco Reus scoring from a free kick in the sixth minute, but Wolfsburg pulled level half an hour later when Marcel Schmelzer was sent off for handling and Diego converted the resulting penalty.

Naldo volleyed Wolfsburg in front before half time, but Jakub Blaszczykowski canceled it out from the penalty spot in the 61st after Robert Lewandowski was pushed down by Simon Kjaer.

But Wolfsburg went in front again when Bas Dost slotted home past Roman Weidenfeller, and the team rose to 14th.

Vedad Ibisevic scored a hat trick for Stuttgart in a 3-1 victory over Schalke 3-1, which is winless in five matches and is now fourth, 16 points behind Bayern. Stuttgart pulled even on points with its third consecutive victory.

Both teams finished with 10 men, with red cards for Stuttgart's Gotoku Sakai and Schalke's Jermaine Jones. Both were sent off for rough tackles, although there appeared little contact when Jones was ruled to have upended Ibrahima Traore.

"Sorry for the red card!! But I'm not 100% on the ref side," Jones wrote on Twitter.

Also Saturday Freiburg beat Greuther Fuerth 1-0 and Nuremberg beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 2-0.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Malaga thrashed struggling Granada 4-0 at home on Saturday to provisionally rise into fourth place in the Spanish league.

Joaquin Sanchez and Javier Saviola scored in the first half, and Ignacio Camacho and Roque Santa Cruz were on target after the break.

Malaga is level on points with Real Betis, which hosts league leader Barcelona on Sunday. Granada is winless in four games and one point from safety in 17th place.

Real Sociedad defender Carlos Martinez scored an injury-time equalizer to secure a 1-1 home draw with Getafe.

Sociedad remained undefeated in five rounds and moved up into eighth place, two spots behind Getafe in sixth.

Real Madrid was at Valladolid in the late match on Saturday.


Celtic cemented its place at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a 3-1 win at Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Captain Scott Brown fired Celtic in front in the 27th minute, before Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras netted in the second half.

Former Celtic striker Cillian Sheridan grabbed a late consolation for Kilmarnock.

The defending champions have a three-point lead and a game in hand over Inverness, which beat third-place Hibernian 3-0.


ROME (AP) — Atalanta beat Parma 2-1 Saturday to move into a tie for seventh place in Serie A.

German Denis put Atalanta ahead with a header four minutes in, and Federico Peluso doubled the lead in the 38th from a rebound of a shot from Denis. Amauri pulled one back for Parma on the stroke of half time.

Atalanta is tied with AC Milan, 14 points behind Italian league leader Juventus, which visits Palermo on Sunday in coach Antonio Conte's return from a four-month sideline ban.