Chelsea vs. Napoli: Player Ratings from Blues' 4-1 Champions League Win
Well done, Chelsea. Well done. Enjoy it. Soak it in. You've earned it.
After going down 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League "Sweet 16," Chelsea found themselves having to dig out a big Italian hole.
And somehow caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo found a shovel big enough.
The scoring started with an athletic display from striker Didier Drogba, who has excelled in the tournament thus far for the Blues.
But it's the second half that got Stamford Bridge to its feet. John Terry showed why he's earned the captain's armband with an incredible touch off a Frank Lampard corner. He cheaply conceded Napoli's only goal minutes later, but Lampard got on the score sheet himself with a well-taken penalty goal.
That made the score 4-4 on aggregate and extra time was even more intense.
In extra time it was Branislav Ivanovic—of all people!—who smashed home a difficult cross from Drogba and gave the southwest London club its one-way ticket to the Champions League quarterfinals.
The scoreline says the team looked superb overall, but how did the individuals grade out? Check out my player ratings and let me know if you agree.
Petr Cech: 7.5
Put together a superb night as he rose to the challenge of a two-goal deficit. His play in extra time was nothing short of remarkable. Absolute class from the Czech international.
John Terry: 8.0
Superb play in the back line. How does a 31-year-old defender do what he did tonight? Countless interceptions, a goal, an assist and constantly in three places at once on the Blues' side of the field. Tremendous.
David Luiz: 6.0
The least impressive of the defensive back line and among the Chelsea players in general. Couldn't keep pace with Napoli's forwards early in the match and ended with more lowlights than highlights.
Ashley Cole: 8.0
Started the match with incredible physicality, knocking into Napoli winger Christian Maggio. Another of the older players in Chelsea's back line, but displayed poise and commanded his position at left-back. The biggest reason—other than Cech—that Napoli only scored once.
Branislav Ivanovic: 8.0
What can you say about a guy who's been the goat of Chelsea's tournament campaign thus far and slams home the winner in the 105th minute? Has he redeemed himself? Not yet, but he got a great start toward looking favorably in the eyes of Blues fans with his performance tonight.
Jose Bosingwa: 7.0
Came on in the first half of extra time and filled in well for Terry. No mistakes from the attack-minded right-back.
Michael Essien: 7.5
Great pressure on Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis with a volley of shots at the end of the first half. Started to lose pace as extra time wore on, but that's to be expected for any 29-year-old who covered as much of the pitch as Essien did.
Excellent cross in the 29th minute to set up the first goal. Fed the ball well to teammates throughout the night, linking up well with fellow midfielder Juan Mata. Played his new position at the wing well.
Frank Lampard: 7.5
In on the last two of Chelsea's goals. Showed great vision in his assist on John Terry's goal to begin the second half. His penalty goal to make it 3-1 was a thing of veteran beauty. Lasted all 120 minutes, which is doubly impressive for the 33-year-old.
Juan Mata: 7.0
Would have been looked at as a solid performance if not everyone around him rising up to the challenge Napoli presented.
Florent Malouda: 6.5
Replaced Mata early in extra time. Nothing much of note either good or bad.
Didier Drogba: 8.5
Man of the match, no question. What a goal to open the game! Displayed great athleticism by jumping over Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica and still burying the ball in the back of the net. Led the team with a performance that goes beyond mere words. One for the highlight reel.
Daniel Sturridge: 6.5
Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo did the right thing pulling Sturridge in the second half. Was an offensive force to be reckoned with in the first half, but was ineffective and left in the 63rd minute.
Fernando Torres: 5.5
Missed an easy goal shortly after coming onto the pitch and consequently a golden opportunity to immediately get back in Stamford's good graces. Unimpressive.