SSC Napoli will head into their round of 16 second leg in London well placed after coming from behind to complete a rousing 3-1 defeat of woeful Chelsea FC with superb performances by Lavezzi and Cavani.
Naples / NationalTurk – Ezequiel Lavezzi scored twice and in form striker Cavani showed he can score even with his body against Chelsea as Napoli came from behind to earn a stunning first-leg advantage to take to Stamford Bridge in three weeks.
Keeper Morgan De Sanctis was frustrated SSC Napoli’s 3-1 win against Chelsea FC was not more convincing but goalscorer Edinson Cavani stated their performance was “extraordinary”.
Napoli Chelsea : Good result for Napoli, could have been worse for Chelsea
Despite the sense of euphoria surrounding SSC Napoli after the 3-1 win against Chelsea FC in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16, Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis told : “It is a good result but we are not fully happy because we could have added a fourth goal.”
Juan Mata gave Chelsea a 27th-minute lead in a packed Stadio San Paolo but Napoli responded with one goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi and one from Edinson Cavani to lead in the first half. They could have had a bigger lead to take to London on 14 March had Ashley Cole not cleared Christian Maggio’s 80th-minute shot off the line., after Lavezzi sealed the victory in the 65th minute as Cavani assisted that time.
“A 3-0 or a 4-1 would have been a perfect result,” Napoli goalie De Sanctis stressed. ‘We will travel to London with confidence high but we are avare that players like Frank Lampard and Michael Essien could be in a better physical condition than today by then. However, Chelsea will certainly need to attack and will be forced to leave us openings. We will have to exploit them with the pace of our attackers.’
De Sanctis is fully aware that Chelsea had good opportunities to score more than one away goal. “They are a great side,” the 34-year-old continued. “It was important not to concede but I think that until Mata’s goal Napoli were clearly the better side. That goal was just an incident but fortunately this team proved once again to have a great character. How far can we go in the competition? For the moment we are only going to Stamford Bridge to give our best and try to reach the quarter-finals.”
Napoli has immense striking power / Napoli Chelsea Highlights[media id=489 width=610 height=340]
That Napoli have every chance of doing so is down to the two goalscorers. De Sanctis added: “Il Pocho [Lavezzi] knows that he has to take a final step and become a player who can score 15 or 20 goals every season, but he is training hard every day to become more clinical in front of goal. We can count on him and we count on Edinson Cavani, on Marek Hamšík and Goran Pandev because we know that our attackers can take us a long way.”
Chelsea have learnt that the hard way, but Lavezzi also considers the tie far from over. “Chelsea are very strong and it’s not over yet but we have a good advantage now I have to admit,” explained the Argentinian international, who had never scored in the UEFA Champions League before. “Now we have to go there and have another great match, try to score some goals and close the tie.”
Napoli Chelsea Champions League Highlights : Chelsea coach Villas Boas lashed
The Chelsea boss Villas Boas is already under immense pressure following a five-game winless run and reports of a dressing room bust-up as a result of his tactics has led to further scrutiny. His starting elf decision is criticised in England.
Meanwhile, it was a fifth goal in seven UEFA Champions League games for Napoli star striker Edunson Cavani, who said: “The whole team played an extraordinary game today. “When we entered the dressing room after the game we realised that we had just beaten one of the powerhouses of Europe”. We are all happy and proud.”