More blues for AVB's Chelsea against Napoli

Napoli draw first blood in the Champions League beating hapless Chelsea 3-1 thanks to a brace by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

     Ezequiel Lavezzi scored twice for Napoli as his team overcame Chelsea in the first leg [GALLO/GETTY] 

    Napoli completed the double for Italian teams against English opposition beating Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of the last 16 match of the Champions League.

    Like Milan's comprehensive win over Arsenal, Napoli dominated proceedings with an impressive performance against a Chelsea side, who were architects of their own downfall with numerous defensive errors and poor finishing.

    It is Chelsea's fifth match without a win and means there is likely to be no English team in the quarter-finals.

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas made the brave decision to leave experienced players Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole on the bench.

    "It is a team selection. I can go on and explain it but it makes no difference to you guys, you will just have to analyse it and make your opinion. It was based on who was there for the team at that moment and was the best team in my thoughts," Villas-Boas told Sky Sports after the match. 

    "The first 90 minutes have passed, we have 90 minutes in which we have to turn tie around. We will analyse strongly what we did wrong because there are a couple of things we need to do better.

    "We will create problems with our attacking options, because we created problems today."

    Chelsea got off to the best possible start as Juan Mata put them ahead in the 27th minute, after some questionable defending by the home side allowed the Spaniard to slot home from six yards.

    But that was as good as it got for Chelsea, as Napoli asserted their dominance with a powerful, attacking display and were soon rewarded when Ezequiel Lavezzi curled a shot from just outside the box into the bottom right corner. 

    Napoli then took the lead at the stroke of half-time when Edinson Cavani fired home from close range into the top left corner of the goal using his shoulder.


    The second half continued in the same fashion with both teams having opportunities to score.

    Chelsea, without captain John Terry, struggled to hold back Napoli who pounced on Chelsea's deficiencies with wave after wave of attacking intent.

    They got behind the Chelsea back-line time and time again and made the away side pay when Lavezzi scored his second of the night, after defender David Luiz was caught out and left goalkeeper Petr Cech stranded.

    The crowd at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples saw their side go into the second leg with one foot through to the quarter-finals.

    Chelsea have it all to do and will be without Terry when the teams meet again.

    Terry is set to undergo knee surgery and will be out for up to two months, said an unknown source close to the player.

    Terry has not played for more than three weeks and Chelsea medics decided on Tuesday that the defender must have an operation on his right knee.

    Blues boss Villas-Boas is under immense pressure to get through to the quarter-finals of Europe's biggest club competition after his side's miserable run in the Premier League.

    AVB continues to tell the press that his job is safe but if he fails to overcome the deficit at Stamford Bridge, few expect him to remain in place for too long.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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