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UEFA Champions League

  • March 14, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: F. Brych
  • • Attendance: 37784
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Chelsea win Aggregate 5 - 4

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (Agg 5-4 after extra-time): Dramatic Ivanovic winner sees Blues complete stunning Champions League turnaround

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (Agg 5-4 after extra-time): Dramatic Ivanovic winner sees Blues complete stunning Champions League turnaround

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Roberto Di Matteo's side progress to the quarter-finals after overturning a 3-1 deficit from defeat in Italy, with the Serbian defender slamming home the crucial goal

Chelsea progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as a 4-1 win over Napoli at Stamford Bridge gave them a 5-4 aggregate advantage, following extra time.

The hosts opened the scoring through Didier Drogba, the Ivorian finding the net with his head in the first half, and they doubled their lead on the night just after half-time as John Terry nodded in from a corner.

Napoli put themselves back in the lead on aggregate soon after, as Gokhan Inler smashed an effort home from the edge of the area, but Frank Lampard restored the hosts' two-goal lead on the night as he scored from the penalty spot.

The Blues were then forced to wait to clinch their passage to the next round, as Branislav Ivanovic got the goal to send them through in extra-time.

Chelsea made four changes from the team which beat Stoke at the weekend as David Luiz replaced Gary Cahill in the centre of defence, Michael Essien started in favour of John Obi Mikel, Juan Mata came in for Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge took the place of Salomon Kalou in attack.

Napoli made just two changes following their incredible 6-3 win over Cagliari at the weekend. Andrea Dossena was replaced by Christian Maggio and danger man Edinson Cavani returned to the starting line-up in place of Goran Pandev.

The first chance of the match fell to Sturridge, as the youngster volleyed goalwards at an angle in the penalty area, but Morgan De Sanctis palmed it behind for a corner.

It didn’t take long for Napoli to show their attacking ability, however. Inler played the ball into Ezequiel Lavezzi on the edge of the penalty area and, after swivelling, he let rip only for Petr Cech to make the save, if a little awkwardly.

The visitors were continuing to look extremely imperious in attack. This time it was Cavani who went close, getting on the end of Maggio’s low cross at the back post, but much to the relief of the Chelsea fans the Uruguayan could only find the side netting, and Roberto Di Matteo's side eventually made him pay.

After 27 anonymous minutes, Drogba gave the home side the lead. Ramires took up possession on the left wing to deliver an excellent ball towards the near post which the forward cleverly nodded down past De Sanctis.

Chelsea continued to control much of the action and went close to extending their lead just before half-time. Following a corner, Ramires found Luiz in space on the right of the area, but the Brazilian’s low, drilled cross was brilliantly cut out by Paolo Cannavaro, just ahead of Drogba, giving De Sanctis the opportunity to gather and keep the score at 1-0 at half-time.

Despite the Italians' stubborn end to the first period, it didn’t take long for the hosts to level the aggregate score after the break. Napoli sloppily gave away a corner, and Terry rose highest to head the ball out of De Sanctis’ reach and double Chelsea’s lead on the night.

Chelsea’s two-goal lead didn’t last long, though. With 54 minutes gone, Terry headed substitute Dossena’s cross out to the edge of the area, but only as far as Inler, who chested the ball under control and smashed a fabulous half-volley into Cech’s bottom right corner.

The Napoli goal hardly ushered a new sense of urgency into the Chelsea performance, but Roberto Di Matteo did see fit to bring on Fernando Torres, who had gone 25 matches for club and country without a goal.

A little later, Drogba again tested the former Sevilla goalkeeper. Ivanovic’s throw-in found its way to the Ivorian, who spun and volleyed with his left foot, but De Sanctis threw himself down to his right and tipped the ball round the post brilliantly for a corner.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, the visitors came close to levelling the score on the night. Camilo Zuniga linked well with Lavezzi and a slip from Ashley Cole allowed the Colombian to march into the area, but his shot was saved by the right hand of Cech, who did well to palm it away from the lurking Cavani.

Five minutes later, however, Chelsea won themselves a penalty and took a 3-1 lead on the night. From a corner, Ivanovic headed the ball onto the right hand of Dossena, with the referee rightly pointing to the spot, from where Frank Lampard buried his effort.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between after Lampard's penalty and the two teams were forced to play another half-hour of football with the aggregate score tied at 4-4 upon the final whistle.

Following chances for Ivanovic and Torres in the opening half of extra-time, Chelsea got the goal to send themselves through just before half time, as the Serbian defender slammed a shot into the roof of the net after excellent work on the right from Drogba.

The second half of extra time proved nervy for the hosts, but after Drogba missed a golden opportunity in the dying moments, Chelsea held on despite pressure from their visitors to seal progression to the next round.

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