Friday, March 16, 2012


NapoliChelsea                                                              4 - 1                            Napoli 
Chelsea                                                                                                           Inler (55)
Chelsea club emblemNapoli club emblem


WE HAVE HISTORYUntil this round Chelsea and Napoli had never met before in European competition. Chelsea took the lead three weeks ago through Juan Mata, following Paolo Cannavaro's error. However the Neapolitans overturned that scoreline within 20 minutes, then capitalised on David Luiz's mistake to establish a 3-1 first leg lead. Ashley Cole brilliantly cleared off the line late-on to prevent an even worse deficit.
Chelsea have played Napoli on English soil before. We both competed in the four club pre-season Makita Tournament in August 1994 at Highbury. Napoli won 2-0 with goals from Freddy Rincon and Massimo Agostini. Glenn Hoddle's Chelsea side beat Atlético Madrid the following day to finish in third place. Napoli lost the final to Arsenal.
Supporters may remember another Italian side who came here to protect a first-leg lead back in the 1998 Uefa Cup-Winners' Cup. Serie A side Vicenza arrived leading 1-0 in the semi-final tie and stunned home fans by taking the lead just past the half-hour mark at the Bridge, meaning Chelsea required three goals in an hour.
The goal stirred Gianluca Vialli's team into action and Gus Poyet levelled from a goalkeeping blunder almost straight away. In the second-half Gianfranco Zola powered home a header from Vialli's great cross, but the tie remained in the balance.
As Vicenza started to lose their earlier discipline, Chelsea went close from set-plays and Graham Rix on the bench made a match-changing substitute, bringing on Mark Hughes with 20 minutes to go.
Hughes's key contribution came from a huge Ed de Goey kick upfield. The Chelsea striker let the ball bounce once, holding off the challenge from Dicara. Then he nodded backwards past the defender and turned after it before catching the ball perfectly on the volley with an unstoppable left-foot shot that looped past goalkeeper Brivio.

Eddie Newton was playing in midfield (Roberto Di Matteo was suspended) and the Blues progressed to the final with that 3-1 scoreline, lifting the trophy by beating Stuttgart.


Chelsea's biggest home win in the Champions League19/10/2011 - Chelsea 5-0 KRC Genk - group stage
Napoli's biggest away win in the Champions League07/12/2011 - Villarreal 0-2 Napoli - group stage

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