By Alan Duffy
Chelsea, under the temporary stewardship of Roberto Di Matteo, looked to have a massive task ahead of them on Wednesday night, with visitors Napoli taking a 3-1 advantage to Stamford Bridge from the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie.
However, inspired (somewhat ironically) by some of the players who Andre Villas-Boas wanted to jettison, the Blues gave the Italian side a right good thrashing, winning 4-1 on the night to take their place as England’s sole representatives in the last eight.
Didier Drogba (who was guilty of some appalling play-acting and diving later on) got the ball rolling for the Blues just before the half-hour mark, heading home a Ramires centre which came totally against the run of play. Edison Cavani and co. had come close to breaking the deadlock, but the home side went in at the break a goal up.
Another one of the Chelsea (almost) pensioners, John Terry, netted just three minutes after the break, from a Frankie Lamps’ corner and suddenly the comeback was on. However, seven minutes later, Swiss dynamo Gokhan Inler got one back for the Italians, leaving the aggregate score at 4-3 to the visitors.
Then, with 15 minutes left on the clock, former Liverpool man Andrea Dossena handled in the Napoli box and Lampard powered home the spot-kick to level the tie and force another half-hour of action.
Injury time saw both sides going close before, in the 105th minutes, the outstanding Branislav Ivanovic blasted home to give the Blues’ faithful something to cheer about.
Chelsea go through, with Roman Abramovich no doubt feeling somewhat vindicated by his decision to axe AVB. Oh, Fernando Torres came on in the second half. And didn’t score. Again.