Chelsea crumble under Napoli pressure, Real held in Moscow

February 22nd, 2012 - 5:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Naples, Feb 22 (IANS) Chelsea slumped to a 1-3 defeat at the Stadio San Paolo here against Naples in the first leg of the last-16 in Champions League, while Spanish giants Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by CSKA Moscow in Moscow.

From the start of the game Chelsea looked shaky in defence with Napoli striker Edison Cavani constantly making runs behind the two centre-backs.

Warnings were there for the London club Tuesday, however, they failed to take notice. It was no surprise then that the first chance of the game fell to Cavani, who beat the off-side trap, only to be stopped by an amazing save from Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Cech was on double shift in Naples as he came to Chelsea’s rescue once again making a smart save from Christian Maggio’s shot minutes later.

It was a major surprise when the Londoners took the lead through Spanish midfielder Juan Mata in the 27th minute as an attempt to clear the ball by defender Paolo Cannavaro landed next to Mata, who slotted home from close range.

From then on it was all downhill for Chelsea as they came under immense pressure from Napoli’s holy trinity Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik. Lavezzi scored the equaliser for the home side as he found a lot of space just outside the D and shot a fierce shot in the 38th minute.

Cavani gave Napoli the lead late into the first half to break Chelsea’s resolve.

In the second half Chelsea looked a changed side as they attacked with great vigour and had numerous opportunities to get back on level terms, but a glaring error from David Luiz allowed Lavezzi to make it 3-1 on 65 minutes.

Chelsea have all to do when Napoli comes to Stamford Bridge to play the second leg.

Meanwhile, a 90th minute Pontus Wernbloom strike salvaged a draw for CSKA Moscow against Real Madrid in freezing conditions at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Madrid were clearly the better side and took the lead in the 28th minute thanks to a wonderful goal by Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. Madrid dominated the proceedings but were unable to find the second and had to pay the price as CSKA stayed true to their reputation of scoring late goals.

CSKA play Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second long and will have to produce a miracle if they are to book a place in quarterfinals of the competition.

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