WITH A FINISH that any quality striker would be proud of, Ivanovic put Chelsea through to the quarter finals of the Champions League with a net-busting extra time winner. How did this goal came about and why the hell was Ivanovic, playing center-back at that point of the game, ended up in the position to score such a monumental goal? Let's break it down, shall we?
Crosses and Clearances
|Picture 1. Two Crosses from Chelsea, Two Clearances by Napoli|
[14:16] Lampard takes a freekick.
[14:17] Hamsik clears.
[14:20] Lampard passes to Ramires.
[14:22] Ramires crosses.
[14:23] Aronica clears.
[14:26] Ramires chest-controls the clearance.
The build-up for this goal started with a Chelsea freekick on the right edge of the Napoli box. Lampard took the freekick as Torres, Malouda, Luiz, Ivanovic and Drogba tried to attack the cross. So, this was the reason why Ivanovic ended in that attacking position to score the winner; he was in the box for a set-piece.
This is not directly related to the goal but it is interesting to note the way Chelsea players positioned in the box for this freekick. Torres was at the far post; Luiz and Ivanovic stayed central at the edge of the six-yard box; Malouda was the most forward and closest to the Napoli goal; Drogba made a near post run, just as he did for the Terry goal in this game.
Lampard's crossed was cleared by Hamsik but the ball went straight back to Lampard who, then, passed it to Ramires. The Brazilian whipped in another cross into the box -- smart decision since the likes of Luiz and Ivanovic were still in the danger zone -- but Aronica cleared with a strong header. Somehow, the ball came straight back to Ramires who brought it down on the right side of the pitch. These two clearances by Napoli were actually pretty good -- they were strong, high and directed away from the goal. The English side were a bit fortunate that both clearances came straight back to a Chelsea player. But luck can only take you so far: goals are scored and games are won most often when a bit of quality is injected. That's exactly what happened next.
Quality Run, Quality Turn/Cross & Quality Finish
|Picture 2. Ivanovic Scores|
[14:33] Ramires passes to Drogba through 2 Napoli players.
[14:35] Drogba turns and makes a low cross into the box.
[14:38] Ivanovic scores.
Ramires, playing on the wings, really got in touch with his Brazilian roots in this game. The Energizer Bunny showed some flair in dribbling down the right flank despite the defensive pressure from Napoli. When he finally got closed down by Hamsik and Dossena, Ramires had the vision and technique to slip a pass, through the two Napoli bodies, to Drogba.
The Ivorian did not fail to show his own qualities either; under close watch by Cannavaro, Drogba turned and set up for a cross with his first touch before delivering a low cross through the legs of the Napoli defender. Ivanovic was at the right place at the right time and took full advantage with a powerful, confident shot.
The transitional nature of this goal means that it only needed two consecutive passes -- Ramires to Drogba and Drogba to Ivanovic -- for the ball to end up in the back of the net. This timely and crucial goal marked the turning point in this Chelsea season which has so far been forgettable.
Carefree, wherever you may be...