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Torres influential as Chelsea jump above Spurs

Chelsea moved into 3rd on the EPL log after a 2-1 win against Sunderland.

Chelsea's Spanish striker Fernando Torres. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Chelsea beat Sunderland 2-1 to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into third place in the English Premier League on Sunday.

The fightback enabled Chelsea to take advantage of Spurs's 2-2 draw with Everton at White Hart Lane where Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a late equaliser to rescue a point for the hosts in a pulsating game.

All three goals at Stamford Bridge were scruffy.

Rafa Benitez's side went behind to a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal just before halftime but were soon gifted an own goal of their own by Sunderland's Matthew Kilgallon following a lightning break by substitute Torres.

Defender Branislav Ivanovic then sealed the victory in the 55th minute.

With 58 points from 31 matches, the European champions are ahead of Spurs on goal difference and also have a game in hand on their London rivals.

Fifth-placed Arsenal are two points behind while Everton, in sixth, have 52.

Victory over Sunderland came in the same week Chelsea reached the FA Cup semifinals by beating Manchester United 1-0 and edged closer to the Europa League last four by establishing a 3-1 lead over Rubin Kazan in their quarterfinal first leg.

"Two days before the United game people said we were in a crisis, two hours before the game it was the end of the world and now we are in the top three again," interim manager Benitez told Sky Sports News.

OTHER RESULTS

Earlier, Liverpool lost ground on the group chasing Champions League qualifying spots when they were held to a 0-0 home draw by West Ham United, leaving the Anfield club in seventh place with 49 points from 32 games.

West Ham are now six points clear of the drop zone in 12th position.

Newcastle United also pulled away from relegation trouble with a 1-0 win at home to Fulham thanks to Papiss Cisse's stoppage-time winner.

Victory lifted Newcastle to 13th with 36 points, a point behind West Ham.

Wigan Athletic remained in the relegation zone on goal difference after Shaun Maloney scored from a direct free kick deep into stoppage time to earn a dramatic 1-1 draw with 10-man Queens Park Rangers.

Second-from-bottom QPR played most of the match a man down after the 21st-minute dismissal of Bobby Zamora for a high challenge on Jordi Gomez.

League leaders Manchester United, who are 15 points clear, host second-placed Manchester City on Monday.