March 15 2012
Forget any other European night at The Bridge: Barcelona, Liverpool, Vicenza and even Bruges way back in the 70s, last night was the ‘greatest’ in Chelsea’s European history.. ney perhaps in the whole history of Chelsea Football Club. 3-1 down from the first leg, Chelsea knew they had to score at least two and keep a clean sheet as a minimum, to progress through to the Quarter-Finals.
Firstly we have to thank UEFA for appointing a ‘strong’ referee.
You will never normally read here any positive towards ‘snail-face’ and his cronies, considering their extremely suspect appointments in the past, but Mr Felix Brych from Germany was strong and even awarded Chelsea a penalty, without doubt and without hesitation.
Player power came to the fore and not in the way you have been led to believe as ‘One England Captain’ JT, Didier, Super Frank all scored.
Ashley Cole put in a powerful shift and Petr Cech kept Chelsea in the tie with some super saves, especially in the first twenty-minutes, when Napoli, roared on by their ‘Ultras’ threatened to tear Chelsea apart.
Once Chelsea got going, Luiz had Cavani in his back pocket and Lavezzi and Hamsik were restricted to long range efforts but it was an Inler pearler that put Napoli back into the lead on aggregate from the edge of the area, a volley that Cech could do nothing about.
Chelsea found their crossing boots as Didier flew through the air to meet a Ramires cross to put Chelsea 1-0 on the night.
The goal was reminiscent of the late Peter Osgood’s headed goal in the 1970 FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford and I am sure Ossie had a big beaming smile on his face from above as the ball from Drogba’s head found the back of the net.
Chelsea’s 2nd came from a Super Frank corner at the start of the second-half when ‘One England Captain’ got in front of everybody at the near post to flick in to put Chelsea level on aggregate.
Chelsea’s third came from the penalty spot from Super Frank who gave De Sanctis no chance as he smashed the ball down the middle.
The winner and aggregate decider came in the first period of extra-time from Ivanovic who seems to have a knack of scoring important goals at the right-time as he crashed Chelsea’s fourth high into the Shed End net from another cross, this time from Drogba.
Whatever AvB’s ‘project’ was, his biggest mistake was to try and discard THE most successful players in Chelsea’s history, too quickly and too soon.
A mistake that ultimately cost him his job.
Whatever Di Matteo and Newton have done in the last two weeks is nothing short of miraculous and long may it continue, starting off with Leicester City at home on Sunday in the FA Cup Quarter-Final, k.o. 2.05pm.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry (c) (Bosingwa), Cole, Sturridge (Torres 62), Essien, Lampard, Ramires, Mata (Malouda 94), Drogba
Goals: Drogba 28, Terry 47, Lampard pen 75, Ivanovic 104
Booked: Lampard 42, Cole 97
Napoli: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro (c), Aronica (Vargas 109), Maggio (Dossena 36), Inler, Gargano, Zuniga, Hamsik (Pandev 106), Lavezzi, Cavani.
Goal: Inler 54
Booked: Cannavaro 52, Dossena 67, Inler 111, Campagnaro 114