Chelsea defeat Napoli to reach last eight on dramatic night at Stamford Bridge; Ivanovic extra-time winner settles tie
Branislav Ivanovic’s extra-time winner saw Chelsea defy the odds and progress to the last eight of the Champions League.
After 90 minutes, the Blues had won the second leg 3-1, meaning another 30 minutes of playing time was needed to break the 4-4 aggregate scoreline. Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard were all on target for the home side, whilst Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler had found the net for the Italians.
However with the crowd buoyed by the efforts and desire of Roberto Di Matteo’s men, it was the Serbian defender Ivanovic who smashed home the winner in the first half of extra time.
Napoli had started the match with purpose, and so it was against the run of play when the London club opened the scoring. Just before the half hour mark, Drogba headed Chelsea on their way via a cross from Ramires.
Minutes after the interval and Stamford Bridge was rocking once again, with captain Terry heading home a Lampard corner.
However just as belief was creeping into the stadium, an away goal for Walter Mazzarri’s men meant it was advantage to the visitors once again. Gokhan Inler’s piledriver had restored the aggregate advantage for the men from Naples.
Chelsea responded though, and talisman Lampard forced extra time when he volunteered himself to take a crucial penalty with just 15 minutes to go, which he finished with aplomb.
The wind was in Chelsea’s sails from then on, and they didn’t let the full time whistle halt their ambitions, with extra time starting as normal time had ended. Substitutions were made, and even the Blues skipper John Terry had to make way after he picked up a knock. However, his input from the sidelines showed why he will no doubt be a Chelsea manager one day.
It meant Ivanovic stepped into the heart of the defence because of Terry’s absence, however he, like the England defender earlier on in the game, managed to get himself on the scoresheet. The 28-year-old found himself unmarked inside Napoli’s box, and his shot, struck with power and venom, fired it’s way past Morgan De Sanctis.
That goal means Chelsea await Friday’s quarter final draw with interest, becoming the only English team still in the competition.
Amongst them will be the leaders of the Spanish La Liga, Real Madrid, who triumphed 4-1 this evening, including a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Yesterday’s action saw Bayern Munich overturn their 1-0 defeat from the first leg to a 7-1 win on aggregate. Mario Gomez got four and the Germans will be a team clubs will want to avoid. Elsewhere, Italian giants Inter Milan, crashed out at the expense of Olympique de Marseille. Brazilian, Brandao, scored the crucial away goal to send the Stade Velodrome club through.
Teams in the draw for the Champions League quarter finals:
Olympique de Marseille
The draw will be made on Friday in Nyon at approximately 10:45 GMT