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Napoli’s European Journey Ends at Stamford Bridge

What supposedly a promising season for Serie A teams in the Champions League simply changed in the second leg of the competition after Napoli followed Inter Milan’s path by crashing out in tragic fashion.

The Partenopei saw their 3-1 advantage wiped away at Stamford Bridge as on although the fight goes as far as extra time, Walter Mazzarri’s team simply didn’t have much answer for what hit them at Stamford Bridge.

Arriving with a high confidence after their 3-1 lead, Napoli tried their best not to make the same mistake Ac Milan did against Arsenal and simply went on attacking Chelsea from the early minutes. However, Mazzarri’s team simply forgot it wasn’t actually the approach that got the Rossoneri almost busted at Emirates, it was more of the team’s mental attitude which simply thinking they are already half way into the next round.

After missing some goal scoring chances which could put the tie to bed, Napoli’s careless defending at the back brought the lifeline for the home team when Didier Drogba headed in Ramires’ cross from the left flank. The goal lifted the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and things really got heated early in the second half when John Terry headed in a corner to beat Morgan De Sanctis, who was left flapping air, leaving the Italian with some despair.

Napoli did get their hope up again though when Gokhan Inler produced a wonderful striker just from outside of the penalty area in 55th minute, much to the joy of their away fans in the stadium. However, midway in the second period, Frank Lampard puts the tie back on a brink of tension after successfully hitting the spot kick which was given because of a clumsy handling offense by Andrea Dossena.

Having the same aggregate, the match went on to extra time and it seems that Chelsea’s experience and hunger play an important part in their success which was proved by their ability to grab another goal through Branislav Ivanovic’s striker inside the penalty area. The goal simply killed off Napoli’s resilience as tiredness seemed growing into the players mind, leaving the tie simply on for the Blues’ grasp.

It was a valuable lesson for the Southern Italian side, obviously they are massively disappointed but they can still be very proud of their achievement and might once again provide the lesson needed for Italian teams. Taking things rather too lightly can always be dangerous as making an attacking or defensive approach won’t matter much when the players’ head isn’t placed where it should by during the game.

Match Report:

Chelsea v Napoli 4-1 (after extra time)
Goals: Drogba 28, Terry 47, Lampard 75, Ivanovic 104 (Chelsea); Inler 55 (Napoli)

Chelsea:Cech; Ivanovic, Terry (Bosingwa 98), David Luiz, A Cole; Ramires, Essien; Lampard, Juan Mata (Malouda 95), Sturridge (Torres 63); Drogba
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica (Vargas 110); Maggio (Dossena 36), Gargano, Inler, Zuniga; Hamsik (Pandev 105), Lavezzi; Cavani