The holders set up a quarter-final with Man Utd after second-half goals from Ramires and Moses ended Boro's Cup hopes
Full-time: Hazard goes close after Chelsea break but that's your lot. Chelsea win comfortably in the end. Torres even scored, kind of, with his back. Perhaps the way forward for the Chelsea misfit is to never face his own goal ever again. He could just be a £50m deflection. He could be the successful face of pinball machines up and down the land. Anyway, it's Manchester United next for Chelsea. Thanks for your emails.
90 min: All this Boro endeavor has made me very hungry. I may treat myself with a pork belly burrito afterwards. They're kind of trendy round Kings Cross way these days. Anyway, Boro continue to attack to no avail.
87 min: Boro are huffing and puffing and playing with some verve. It's a pity they're 2-0 down or all this effort may actually be exciting instead of just 'something that is happening on my screen'. Miller, who has played well since coming on, races down the inside right channel and does David Luiz for pace before rocketing a shot at Cech's near post that the big keeper pats wide for a corner. Corner comes to nothing as per usual.
84 min: Boro are having a right old go here. Haroun plays a first-time volley back across goal after a long diagonal ball was sent arrowing his way. Miller gets a yard clear of Terry, but his left footed-shot is scooped over with the side of his boot. It looked a worse miss than it was. The ball was just slightly behind him and he couldn't wrap his leg around it.
83 min: Boro win a corner. Zemmama curls a deep outswinging corner to the backpost. Cech backpeddles but misses the flight of the ball and Hines leaps above David Luiz but his header goes just wide.
81 min: Boro take an age to set up a free-kick on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area. Zemmama, who came on for somebody some minutes ago (sorry I didn't see who), curls it over the wall but safely into Cech's hands.
79 min: Oscar off. Marin on. "Is U2 not a more apt analogy for Fernando? You have the spiky, raw post-punk youth at Atletico before maturing into his best work in his mid-twenties onwards. Then, after hitting the big time, some experimental attempts to re-capture that flame before becoming a lumbering dinosaur," offers Gerard McCourt. Perhaps Torres should go and do some charity work ala Bono …
77 min: Moses is replaced by David Luiz. That's such a Rafa change.
This is a delicious goal. Hazard, who has given Chelsea a healthy injection of creativity since replacing Benayoun, picks the ball up and plays a one-two with Oscar, which the Brazilian flicks nonchalantly and brilliantly back into his path. Hazard takes a touch and shapes to shoot before squaring to Moses who stabs home. Game over.
71 min: Hazard is a very thin hair's width from putting Chelsea 2-0 up. Ramires sent him into the box, but he curls his shot just wide of the far post.
70 min: "Hooray for an REM analogy!" hoots Ryan Dunne. "I like a lot of the much-maligned post-Buck material (hell, even Around the Sun has I Wanted To Be Wrong) but the gulf between Chelsea Torres and Liverpool Torres is surely more like the one between, say, Accelerate and Green."
67 min: Boro have taken to hoofing it in order to try and upset Chelsea's defence and, more importantly, bypass their midfield, which is back on top. It's resulted in some filth oozing from my screen. However, it's the kind of filth that may actually result in a goal or at least some anxious moments at the back for Chelsea. Williams is almost sent scuttling through after a knock down from Miller, but Terry sweeps up the danger.
66 min: Hey indie kids
of 10 years ago, this one's for you. "Torres has certainly been resting his chemistry since parting with Gerrard. Is this the first Interpol/football related pun and can I have five pounds?" asks Trevelyan Wright. Yes. And no.
63 min: Chelsea are still very much in control. Torres had a half-a-sniff of goal on the right side of the penalty area, but Friend stands up well to him and manages to dispossess him relatively easily.
60 min: Subs – Chelsea: Hazard for Benayoun. Boro: Miller for Main.
57 min: Torres just gives the clearest example of what a shambling mess he has become – the kind of player who can only score if the ball is whacked against his back by a defensive midfielder, some might say. Terry lofts a ball to him, in acres of space and inside the penalty area 15 yards from goal. His first touch is so heavy it takes him a couple of yards backwards and allows the defenders to catch him up. His shot is straight at Steele. Hit with a 'will-this-do' attitude. It is easily parried for a corner. The corner comes to nowt.
54 min: Oscar appears to be the go-to man for Chelsea in this half. He is on the ball at every opportunity and is drifting left and right and making it impossible for Boro's midfielders and defenders to know who should be picking him up. He finds Ramires on the edge of the box, but on this occasion the midfielder's shot is blocked.
52 min: Boro have been up against it since the goal. The confidence has seeped back into Chelsea midfield. Their passing is crisper and they appear to be finding more space between the lines. 'Between the lines' is something Jonathan Wilson often says. It makes me sound cleverer than I really am.
Oscar shows wonderfully quick feet to evade two challenges and ghost his way to the right byline. He clips a cross to Benayoun at the back post, who attempts to cushion the cross and lift it over a defender's head. But he is blocked. The ball comes back to him and he plays a pass back out to Ramires on the edge of the box. He shapes to curl the ball into the top-right hand corner, and succeeds after a deflection off Torres's back. I suspect Torres will be credited with the goal.
48 min: Chelsea are dominating early in the second half …
45 min: There don't appear to be any half-time changes as we kick-off for the second half. Meanwhile, the Torres missives keep on coming. Here's Matt Owen: "Re: your post on Torres' goals (at 8:08 GMT) - I feel like these two goals don't so much demonstrate "razor-sharp decision-making", as moments of subtly sloppy play compensated for by a positive end-result. To elaborate: on the first goal, his stepovers are kind of crap, and his last touch before the strike is pretty loose. On the second, his first touch is pretty poor. When he was a bit sharper, and nimbler, and was hitting the target, he'd get away with this stuff. But not anymore. Thoughts? This is all part of my ambitious theory that - bizarre as it might sound - Torres was always sort of nearly crap, even when he was brilliant …" That was more the theory when he was at Atletico wasn't it Matt? I think defenders wised up to him after a certain amount of time in the Premier League. For instance, he can no longer get away with dragging the ball inside centre-backs (ala Thierry Henry) as he did so effectively for his first two years at Liverpool. Also, I think having Gerrard so close to him at Liverpool helped immensely.
"Do you think we could give Torres to Benitez as a leaving present at the end of the season?" asks Pauline Randall. I'm going to predict that he will score in the 72nd minute, Pauline.
"Torres's problem is that he used to be so good," writes Carl Smith. "It's not that he's an awful footballer, it's just that compared with his amazing earlier work his later stuff suffers in comparison. If Fernando Torres was a band, he'd be R.E.M. Moving to Chelsea was his equivalent of releasing 'Monster'." I'd say he was more like Interpol Carl. Two great albums then a sharp decline with perhaps one decent single in the past three years (Lights, in case you want to know).
Half-time: Boro will be pleased with that. After starting the game incredibly deep, they've gradually grown in confidence and not only limited the threat posed by Chelsea's attackers, but shown in glimpses that they have enough about them to poach a goal themselves.
44 min: Moses, who only has to run in a straight line to worry Friend, forces a corner. It's swung in towards Terry, but he handballs it. Free-kick Boro.
41 min: Apart from a decent burst forwards by Torres, who has had very little support from the three behind him tonight, Boro have had the better of the past 10 minutes. Haroun, Williams and Leadbitter, who has just recovered from a knock, are bossing midfield at the moment.
38 min: A chance. And a pretty good one at that for Boro. Carayol ambles up the left wing for Boro, giving Ferreira a sniff of the ball before jinking inside on to his right foot and belting a shot from 20 yards straight at Cech. The ball bounces wickedly in front of the Chelsea keeper, who can only palm it back into the danger area. Terry is on hand to scoop it clear, though.
36 min: Nothing is happening. So here's a Boro fan: "Remove that Di Matter photo it's knocking me sick. Put a photo up of Gianluca Festa scoring a header which was (incorrectly) ruled offside in the same game. 97 was awesome despite relegation," waheys Christopher Muldowney. That's heartwarming Chris. Cup runs matter. I may even remove that pic for you at half time.
34 min: André Bikey 0-1 Fernando Torres. The big Cameroonian defender limps off with a bit of hamstring twang. Seb Hines is on in his stead.
31 min: There was a shot of Rafa on the touchline barking out instructions to his players just then. Neither me, or my colleague Paul Doyle, could understand a single word of what he said. The Chelsea players, if you believe recent reports, probably weren't listening anyway, mind. So his garbled orders probably don't matter anyway.
28 min: Boro have moved the bus. In fact they are now very much motoring. Williams, Haroun and Leadbitter are keeping possession in midfield much better than previously. They aren't getting dragged out of position at the back so easily now, either. Chelsea are being forced back when they do get hold of the ball.
25 min: Boro almost take the lead. Bailey finds himself in acres of space on the right. He takes a touch, looks around him as though bemused that no one is near him, before whipping in a delicious ball to the back post where McDonald leaps in front of old man Ferreira and sends a poerful header just wide of the left-hand post.
23 min: Friend is having a torrid time at left full-back. Both Torres and Moses seem to be able to beat him with ease. Moses does so but drills his cross straight at McManus. Meanwhile: "Speaking of buses and Boro Gregg," begins David Griffiths," remember when Gazza drove and crashed the new Boro team bus minutes after it was unveiled? He might have largely wasted his talents, but Gazza provided a wealth of anecdotes." He did indeed.
20 min: Torres goes one on one with McManus on the inside-right channel. He beats the defender for pace but drags a pitiful shot straight at Steele. Do you remember when he used to do this?
The second goal is more demonstrative of the razor-sharp decision-making that he has since lost.
18 min: Bikey gives Torres a gentle reminder up the jacksy that he is still around, leaving the Chelsea striker in a heap on the turf over by the left hand side of the pitch. Poor 'ol Fernando.
16 min: Boro have upped their workrate and force a corner. It comes to nothing, but the home side's midfield has stepped up and given Ramires and Ake little room in midfield to pull the strings.
15 min: "More bias journalism in store tonight from you no doubt Gregg. I'm out", says Daniel in Dublin. Where are you going Daniel? Anywhere good.
12 min: Moses makes a sharp run on the inside-right channel before cutting back to Oscar 10 yards from goal, it's better than a half-chance (probably a 3/4 chance) but his low side-footed shot is blocked.
11 min: Here's a very apt email: "Scotty Mac(Donald) had a delicious, near post back-heel flick injury time equaliser (correctly) ruled out for off-side against Millwall on the weekend. I reckon he’ll score tonight," soothsays SB Tang. MacDonald just went clean through on goal for Boro but was (correctly) ruled offside. Chelsea are still very much in control with Ramires and Ake connecting well with Chelsea's second-string 'tricky trio' in front of them.
10 min: Torres looks like he's on it tonight. He outpaces friend again on the right and drills a low cross across the six-yard box but, again, nobody takes a chance to get onto the end of it.
8 min: Oscar plays a delicious ball into the box from the right corner of the penalty area towards Benayoun and Moses in the six-yard box. It is crying out for a touch to jab it home, but they dither somewhat and let a tasty chance go begging.
6 min: Torres shows fantastic pace to knock the ball past Friend and force the defender into a decent slide tackle on the right hand-side of teh penalty area. I don't think Torres has ever lost any pace, just buckets of confidence.
4 min: The Boro players appear to have got off their bus in order that the driver parks it up nice and early in front of goal. They are so incredibly deep and are inviting Chelsea on.
Peep! Chelsea take control immediately. Benayoun and Bertrand combine down the left, but Bertrand is stopped in his path by Friend. Ake appears to be playing as a defensive midfielder alongside Ramires. "There's nothing like a proper, old-fashioned cup tie. And I'm sure tonight's game will be nothing like a proper, old-fashioned cup tie," parps Simon McMahon.
The teams are out at a very sparse-looking Riverside stadium. There's a bit of noise, however. Here we go …
An email: "'Now just imagine the reaction if Chelsea were to finish sixth and win the Cup this year? Booooooooo!' Like last year you mean? Albeit a different and bigger Cup. Pedantic regards," Patrick Cullen. The FA Cup is always the Cup Patrick.
John M Parry points out that the BBC has already decided that Boro have won this tie.
It may be worth keeping an eye out on the battle between Torres and André Bikey tonight. I remember Bikey kicking Torres all over the turf at the Madejski Stadium in a Cup tie some years ago. My colleague Paul Doyle points out that Bikey also attacked a first aider during the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations at around the same time in 2008. Perhaps that was just a testing time for the defender. Or maybe he is all that is evil and is solely responsible for initiating the decline of Fernando Torres.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Bailey, McManus, Bikey, Friend, Carayol,
Leadbitter, Rhys Williams, Haroun, Main, McDonald. Subs:
Leutwiler, Zemmama, Emnes, Ledesma, Hines, Miller, Smallwood.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Ake,
Ramires, Moses, Oscar, Benayoun, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Cole,
Luiz, Lampard, Hazard, Marin, Ba.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
So there you have it. Read into those what you will. Terry starts, as does Torres. For Chelsea, expect Terry to point and shout a lot and take credit for anything good that happens. Expect Torres to run around a lot and take the blame for anything bad that happens.
Evening. And a very warm welcome to live MBM coverage of Middlesbrough v Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup Sponsored by Beer. This is the kind of Cup tie that would often be referred to as a 'Proper Cup tie' by commentators who, seeing as it is a tie made up of two football teams in a football competition, presumably would say the same about any two teams thrown together in the velvet bag. I can tell you what isn't a 'Proper Cup tie' though: Godzilla v Bristol City, although that would be entertaining.
Anyway, I digress. Tonight's match gives Chelsea fans the chance to pine for Roberto Di Matteo even more than they would do normally. You see, he was the man who did this in the 1997 FA Cup final after 42 seconds (a record for a Wembley Cup final until Louis Saha beat it in 2008) to end Chelsea's 27-year wait to win the grand old trophy once more.
They played some attractive football that year too, finishing sixth – their highest position for seven years. The Stamford Bridge faithful were overjoyed, as was the club's chairman, Cuddly Ken Bates. Now just imagine the reaction if Chelsea were to finish sixth and win the Cup this year? Booooooooo!
And while the manager-munching financial behemoth of a Chelsea that expects a top-four position year-on-year today is incomparable to the Chelsea of 16 years ago, it is still a crying shame that all joy has been sucked from a club that has been pretty damn successful in recent history.
As for Middlesbrough fans, I wouldn't mind knowing how they feel about 1997. Watching Juninho and Ravanelli must have been fun. Getting to the FA Cup and League Cup final must have been a good laugh too (maybe not getting beat by Steve Claridge in the League Cup final replay, mind). But getting relegated? Ouch.
Anyway, on to tonight's match. Boro, who were challenging up at the top of the Championship in December, have been shocking since Christmas. They have won one, drawn one and lost seven in the league. And that's all Chelsea's fault. Well, not really. Although it has been largely down to their on-loan midfielder Josh McEachran's dip in form. He can't play tonight in any case.
As for Chelsea, Rafa Benítez will probably give a few of his reserves a run-out tonight. He may even give poor old Fernando Torres a go. I doubt they'll take it too lightly, though. They are, after all, the holders. Chelsea badly miss a snarler in defensive midfield. Rafa performs best with a doughty duo holding fort in the middle rather than a tricky trio playing behind a lone striker. But against Tony Mowbray's Boro – and I mean no offence here – I doubt that will matter too much. Unless the players go on all-out strike (not beyond the realms of imagination), they should still have enough talent offensively to comfortably win tonight's tie and face Manchester United in a quarter-final that will be called a 'Proper Cup tie'.
That won't ease any of the pressure on Rafa, mind, but then he signed up for six months in the pressure cooker when he took the job … and I'm sure he is being paid handsomely for the pleasure.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-3 Chelsea