Napoli out-gunned Chelsea to heap more pressure on Andre Villas-Boas and secure a healthy lead in an absorbing Champions League last-16 first leg.

The visitors edged ahead against the run of play as Juan Mata sidefooted home a volley, but Napoli roared back.

Ezequiel Lavezzi fired in from 20 yards and then Edinson Cavani helped home Gokhan Inler's cross before the break.

Chelsea had chances to level but Lavezzi punished David Luiz's mistake to grab a third and cap a fine display.

The defeat extends the Blues' winless run to five matches and will further weaken the position of manager Villas-Boas, who has admitted lacking both support among some of his players and the public backing of club owner Roman Abramovich .

Having lost skipper John Terry to injury only hours before the match, the former Porto boss dropped striker Fernando Torres, who had failed to score in his last 20 Chelsea appearances, to the bench but even with Didier Drogba restored to face a Napoli defence that never looked comfortable, the Italian side were deserving winners.

CHELSEA'S WINLESS RUN

  • 31 Jan: Swansea 1-1 Chelsea
  • 5 Feb: Chelsea 3-3 Man Utd
  • 11 Feb: Everton 2-0 Chelsea
  • 18 Feb: Chelsea 1-1 Birmingham
  • 21 Feb: Napoli 3-1 Chelsea

When Daniel Sturridge's innocuous pass slipped over Paolo Cannavaro's foot, looping up invitingly for the lurking Mata to slot past Morgan De Sanctis on 27 minutes, hopes were raised among the away fans that Chelsea might succeed where Premier League leaders Manchester City had come to grief earlier in the season.

But those hopes dimmed as the opening goal failed to blunt the hosts' attacking instincts, manifested most effectively in the probing passes of Lavezzi and Christian Maggio's marauding runs.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech had done well to deny Cavani early on and had Luiz not headed over after beating Morgan de Sanctis to a corner, a 2-0 deficit would have done Napoli a significant disservice.

As it was the scoreline at the interval gave a fairer reflection of the first-half balance, as Lavezzi and Cavani struck in the space of eight minutes to transform the mood in the Stadio San Paolo.

"Napoli have edged this game deservedly, but I still don't rule out Chelsea going through at Stamford Bridge. I don't think it's over yet but defensively Chelsea have to get better."

Raul Meireles's decision to track a runner rather than advance on Lavezzi was brutally exposed as the Argentine found the bottom corner of Petr Cech's goal from the edge of the area before Cavani nudged home Gokhan Inler's raking cross with his shoulder.

Both sides' defences looked brittle at the start of the second half as an open game swung from end to end.

But it was the Chelsea rearguard that was to be breached again as Luiz's tentative attempt to clear Hugo Campagnero's ball forward was seized on by Cavani who swept the ball across for strike partner Lavezzi to finish.

The pressure that Chelsea had been building before the third goal dissipated and, despite the arrival of Michael Essien and Frank Lampard, it only reached its previous pitch in the final five minutes.

But such was the nature of the game that Chelsea could have been further adrift by that stage, Maggio's effort having to be cleared off the line by Ashley Cole, and the early promise of Mata's goal quickly fading from memory as thoughts turned to a difficult return leg at Stamford Bridge on 14 March.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Napoli

  • 01 De Sanctis
  • 06 Aronica
  • 14 Campagnaro
  • 18 Zuniga
  • 28 Cannavaro
  • 11 Maggio
  • 17 Hamsik (Pandev - 82' )
  • 23 Gargano
  • 88 Inler
  • 07 Cavani Booked
  • 22 Lavezzi (Dzemaili - 74' )

Substitutes

  • 83 Rosati
  • 02 Grava
  • 08 Dossena
  • 21 Fernandez
  • 85 Britos
  • 20 Dzemaili
  • 29 Pandev

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic
  • 04 David Luiz
  • 17 Bosingwa (Cole - 12' )
  • 24 Cahill Booked
  • 07 Ramires
  • 15 Malouda (Lampard - 70' )
  • 16 Meireles Booked (Essien - 70' )
  • 10 Mata
  • 11 Drogba
  • 23 Sturridge

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull
  • 03 Cole
  • 05 Essien
  • 08 Lampard
  • 12 Mikel
  • 09 Torres
  • 21 Kalou
Ref: Carlos Velasco Carballo
Att: 60,000

Match Stats

Shots

15 12

On target

9 6

Corners

4 4

Fouls

7 14

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:42 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +2:55

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Walter Gargano by Branislav Ivanovic. Walter Gargano takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +2:22

Frank Lampard takes a shot. Morgan De Sanctis makes a save.

90:00 +0:55

Ashley Cole delivers the ball, Shot by Didier Drogba from inside the six-yard box clear the bar.

88:24

Didier Drogba is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Morgan De Sanctis.

87:12

Didier Drogba is adjudged to have handled the ball. Hugo Armando Campagnaro takes the free kick.

86:05

Shot on goal by Goran Pandev from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

85:18

The official flags Didier Drogba offside. Indirect free kick taken by Morgan De Sanctis.

84:18

Foul by Paolo Cannavaro on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Juan Mata.

83:26

The ball is sent over by Juan Mata, Paolo Cannavaro manages to make a clearance.

81:54

Long range effort by Gokhan Inler goes wide right of the net.

81:05 Substitution

Substitution Marek Hamsik leaves the field to be replaced by Goran Pandev.

80:37

Cristian Maggio takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole.

79:15

The ball is sent over by Juan Mata.

78:47

Corner taken by Juan Mata from the left by-line.

77:38

Foul by Frank Lampard on Blerim Dzemaili, free kick awarded. Gokhan Inler crosses the ball in from the free kick, Paolo Cannavaro challenges Ramires unfairly and gives away a free kick. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.

75:16

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Blerim Dzemaili by Frank Lampard. Hugo Armando Campagnaro restarts play with the free kick.

74:06

The ball is delivered by Didier Drogba, Morgan De Sanctis makes a comfortable save.

73:34 Substitution

Substitution Blerim Dzemaili comes on in place of Ezequiel Lavezzi.

73:15

Shot from long range by Frank Lampard misses to the left of the target.

71:58

The referee blows for offside. Petr Cech takes the free kick.

70:49

Edinson Cavani fouled by Michael Essien, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

69:21 Substitution

Substitution Frank Lampard on for Florent Malouda.

69:21 Substitution

Substitution Raul Meireles leaves the field to be replaced by Michael Essien.

64:26

The assist for the goal came from Edinson Cavani.

64:26 Goal scored

Goal! - Ezequiel Lavezzi - Napoli 3 - 1 Chelsea Ezequiel Lavezzi grabs a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Napoli 3-1 Chelsea.

63:58

Centre by Daniel Sturridge, Morgan De Sanctis makes a comfortable save.

63:26

Cristian Maggio takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a comfortable save.

63:03

Ezequiel Lavezzi takes a shot. Branislav Ivanovic gets a block in. Short corner worked by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

62:58

Centre by Gokhan Inler, clearance made by Gary Cahill.

60:07

Corner from the right by-line taken by Juan Mata, Close range headed effort by Gary Cahill misses to the right of the goal.

59:54

The ball is swung over by Florent Malouda.

58:58

The ball is crossed by Branislav Ivanovic, Florent Malouda takes a shot.

58:41

The ball is sent over by Florent Malouda.

58:01

Centre by Florent Malouda, Paolo Cannavaro makes a clearance.

57:34

Juan Mata takes a shot. Comfortable save by Morgan De Sanctis.

56:49

Centre by Daniel Sturridge.

55:51

Salvatore Aronica restarts play with the free kick.

55:51 Booking

Booking Gary Cahill goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

55:46

Gary Cahill concedes a free kick for a foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi.

54:55

Shot from just outside the box by Edinson Cavani misses to the left of the target.

54:06

Ezequiel Lavezzi has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

53:43

Juan Mata takes a shot. Save by Morgan De Sanctis.

53:33

Didier Drogba produces a cross, clearance by Salvatore Aronica.

52:49

Ramires challenges Edinson Cavani unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Paolo Cannavaro.

52:42

Florent Malouda sends in a cross, Gokhan Inler makes a clearance.

50:39

Florent Malouda produces a volleyed left-footed shot from 20 yards. Save made by Morgan De Sanctis.

49:51

Edinson Cavani takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.

49:34

The ball is crossed by Florent Malouda, clearance by Paolo Cannavaro.

49:01

Juan Mata takes a shot. Salvatore Aronica gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by Daniel Sturridge from the right by-line, Paolo Cannavaro manages to make a clearance.

47:33

Ashley Cole fouled by Cristian Maggio, the ref awards a free kick. Ramires takes the direct free kick.

46:30

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ezequiel Lavezzi on David Luiz. David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:00 +3:44 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00 +1:16

The assist for the goal came from Gokhan Inler.

45:00 +1:16 Goal scored

Goal! - Edinson Cavani - Napoli 2 - 1 Chelsea Edinson Cavani fires in a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Napoli 2-1 Chelsea.

45:00 +1:16

Gokhan Inler delivers the ball,

44:34

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ramires on Camilo Zuniga. Direct free kick taken by Ezequiel Lavezzi. Effort on goal by Gokhan Inler from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.

44:14

The ball is delivered by Daniel Sturridge, Hugo Armando Campagnaro makes a clearance.

43:04

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Branislav Ivanovic by Walter Gargano. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.

40:28

Gokhan Inler restarts play with the free kick.

40:28 Booking

Booking Booking for Raul Meireles.

40:22

Raul Meireles challenges Gokhan Inler unfairly and gives away a free kick.

39:37

Effort on goal by Ramires from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

38:47 Booking

Booking Booking for Edinson Cavani for dissent.

37:37

Assist on the goal came from Edinson Cavani.

37:37 Goal scored

Goal! - Ezequiel Lavezzi - Napoli 1 - 1 Chelsea A goal is scored by Ezequiel Lavezzi from just outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Napoli 1-1 Chelsea.

34:55

Daniel Sturridge delivers the ball, Salvatore Aronica gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the right by-line, Close range header by David Luiz goes over the crossbar.

33:46

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cristian Maggio by Florent Malouda. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

29:01

Gokhan Inler concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Sturridge. Direct free kick taken by Raul Meireles.

26:17 Goal scored

Goal! - Juan Mata - Napoli 0 - 1 Chelsea A goal is scored by Juan Mata from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Napoli 0-1 Chelsea.

25:18

Inswinging corner taken by Ezequiel Lavezzi from the left by-line played to the near post, Edinson Cavani has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.

25:02

Unfair challenge on Salvatore Aronica by Juan Mata results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Salvatore Aronica.

23:46

The assistant referee signals for offside against Ezequiel Lavezzi. Indirect free kick taken by Gary Cahill.

23:30

Daniel Sturridge crosses the ball, Paolo Cannavaro manages to make a clearance.

23:06

Didier Drogba produces a cross.

21:29

Corner taken by Marek Hamsik from the left by-line, save by Petr Cech.

21:15

Free kick awarded for a foul by Didier Drogba on Salvatore Aronica. Free kick taken by Salvatore Aronica.

20:31

The ball is delivered by Branislav Ivanovic, clearance made by Hugo Armando Campagnaro.

18:46

Cristian Maggio takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech. Short corner taken by Marek Hamsik from the left by-line.

17:15

The ball is sent over by Florent Malouda.

16:17

Juan Mata concedes a free kick for a foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ezequiel Lavezzi from left wing, clearance by David Luiz.

12:47

The offside flag is raised against Edinson Cavani. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.

12:23

Florent Malouda gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gokhan Inler. Hugo Armando Campagnaro restarts play with the free kick.

11:17 Substitution

Substitution Ashley Cole is brought on as a substitute for Jose Bosingwa.

9:16

Edinson Cavani takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.

8:57

Branislav Ivanovic crosses the ball, blocked by Salvatore Aronica.

7:58

Edinson Cavani is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.

5:11

The offside flag is raised against Didier Drogba. Camilo Zuniga takes the free kick.

4:59

Ezequiel Lavezzi crosses the ball, Petr Cech makes a comfortable save.

3:47

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Florent Malouda by Walter Gargano. Raul Meireles takes the free kick.

2:55

Raul Meireles is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Gokhan Inler.

2:36

The ball is swung over by Jose Bosingwa, save made by Morgan De Sanctis.

1:46

Didier Drogba concedes a free kick for a foul on Camilo Zuniga. Free kick taken by Camilo Zuniga.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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