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Ivanović completes rousing Chelsea comeback

Published: Wednesday 14 March 2012, 23.18CET
Chelsea FC 4-1 SSC Napoli (aet, agg: 5-4)
Branislav Ivanović struck an 105th-minute winner as Roberto Di Matteo's side booked their place in Friday's quarter-final draw against the odds.
by Trevor Haylett
from Stamford Bridge

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Match statistics

ChelseaNapoli

Goals scored4
 
1
Attempts on target8
 
5
Attempts off target9
 
11
Corners12
 
8
Offsides2
 
4
Fouls committed22
 
23
Yellow cards2
 
4
Red cards0
 
0
Possession (%)55
 
45

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 14 March 2012, 23.18CET

Ivanović completes rousing Chelsea comeback

Chelsea FC 4-1 SSC Napoli (aet, agg: 5-4)
Branislav Ivanović struck an 105th-minute winner as Roberto Di Matteo's side booked their place in Friday's quarter-final draw against the odds.

Chelsea FC booked a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the seventh time in nine seasons as they overturned SSC Napoli's 3-1 first-leg advantage on a pulsating night at Stamford Bridge.

It was the old guard – Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba – who helped steer the home team through with the opening three goals. After going 2-0 down on the night Napoli revived their hopes through Gökhan Inler's splendid strike but Lampard's penalty forced extra time, where Branislav Ivanović fired in to wrap things up.

Napoli had quickly settled to their task and survived a scare when Drogba headed down a long throw and Daniel Sturridge fired off a shot which Morgan De Sanctis scrambled to his left to keep out. Even so, nerves were evident in Chelsea's play and the visitors began to win possession and work themselves into some dangerous positions.

Chances began to flow. Marek Hamšík was denied by Petr Čech's outstretched leg and Edinson Cavani shot over following the subsequent corner. Then came a more obvious opening for the Uruguayan but he could only find the side netting. Ezequiel Lavezzi got away behind the defence following Inler's pass; Čech again came to the rescue.

Chelsea might have feared going further behind in the tie but their night suddenly brightened with a stunning goal from Drogba. Christian Maggio had taken a blow on the foot a little earlier and it stopped him closing down Ramires as quickly as he would have liked. The cross was measured and the Ivorian stole a metre on his marker to bullet in his header.

Cavani's poor first touch wasted an opening at the other end and it proved the cue for Sturridge to take over as chief penalty-box menace. One fearsome cross flew across the goal; his follow-up header lacked power. Maggio was soon forced off injured, with Juan Zúñiga switching from left-back to facilitate the arrival of Andrea Dossena.

Chelsea will have been delighted with their first-half lead bearing in mind the chances Napoli created and it got even better for them immediately after the restart as Terry rose to power in a header from Lampard's corner. Game well and truly on.

It stirred an emphatic response from the Italian side with Terry forced to show his defensive abilities as the ball fizzed around the area. It was the skipper's clearance following a cross that paved the way for Napoli's goal in the 55th minute, Inler controlling the ball on his chest before dispatching a stunning half-volley into the bottom corner of the net.

De Sanctis distinguished himself with two instinctive saves, first from Ivanović, then from Drogba's smart turn. But he was beaten again in the 75th minute when Lampard drilled in a penalty after Dossena had handled.

The excitement continued into extra time. Just before the end of the first period Drogba played the ball across and Ivanović was there to ram it high into the net. Stamford Bridge roared its approval lustily.

Last updated: 27/11/12 16.33CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000264/match=2007676/postmatch/report/index.html#chelsea+complete+comeback

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