Napoli came from behind to beat Chelsea 3-1 in their Champions League soccer round-of-16 opener, as CSKA Moscow tied Real Madrid 1-1 on a last-second goal.
Ezequiel Lavezzi got two goals and Edinson Cavani one in Naples last night after Juan Mata scored for Chelsea, which hosts the return match in the two-game series March 14 in London. The winner advances to the quarterfinals.
“Chelsea are very strong and it’s not over, but we have a good advantage,” Lavezzi told UEFA’s website. “We have to go there and play another great match trying to score some goals and close the tie.”
Pontus Wernbloom’s volley in second-half stoppage time gave CSKA the home draw after Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid, which has won Europe’s elite club competition a record nine times and will host the second game in three weeks.
“Having led the game and conceded so late it doesn’t leave a good taste in the mouth,” Real manager Jose Mourinho told UEFA’s website. “We must step up for the second leg.”
Chelsea’s defeat followed Arsenal’s 4-0 loss at AC Milan last week and the group-stage eliminations of Manchester United and Manchester City. The last time an English team failed to make the last eight was in 1996.
The Blues’ loss in Italy, which lifted their winless streak to five matches, also will keep the pressure on first-season manager Andre Villas-Boas, who’s been criticized by fans and the media with the team fifth in the Premier League.
“We keep working hard on the training ground but unfortunately we don’t seem to transport that on the pitch,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech told Sky Sports. “It is not an ideal situation but we are still in it and will fight to the end.”
Cech was forced into saves against Cavani and Christian Maggio in the opening 18 minutes. Chelsea then took the lead in the 27th minute as Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro failed to control the ball and Mata put his shot into the corner.
Napoli made it 1-1 six minutes before halftime when Lavezzi curled a shot into the bottom right corner from the edge of the penalty area and took the lead at the break on a stoppage-time goal from Cavani.
Lavezzi shot wide of goal after being sent free by Cavani early in the second half. The two then combined in the 65th minute as David Luiz lost the ball to Cavani, who laid off a pass which Lavezzi fired past Cech.
Ashley Cole kept the deficit to two goals by clearing Maggio’s shot off the goalline with nine minutes remaining.
“We have 90 minutes ahead of us to turn the tie around,” Villas-Boas told Sky Sports.
Real Madrid controlled play at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, though was denied a seventh straight win in the competition by Wernbloom’s last-second goal.
Alan Dzagoev’s free kick into the area was headed by Vasili Berezutski to the far post, where his brother Aleksei nodded it back toward the center for Wernbloom to shoot past Iker Casillas from six yards out.
“Madrid are still the favorites, but the outcome of this match gives us hope for a good result over the two legs,” CSKA coach Leonid Slutski said on UEFA’s website.
CSKA goalkeeper Sergei Chepchugov, playing in place of the injured Igor Akinfeev, made several early saves before Real took the lead in the 28th minute. Zoran Tosic failed to clear Fabio Coentrao’s cross and Ronaldo fired a shot into the bottom corner for his 35th goal of the season.
The remaining first-leg matches in the round of 16 are scheduled for today, when Marseille hosts Inter Milan and Bayern Munich visits Basel.