Napoli Vs. Chelsea, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Partenopei Lead At Halftime

It's been an incredibly exciting and eventful first 45 minutes at Stadio San Paolo, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, neither Chelsea or Napoli has been able to get through the first half with a clean sheet intact. Napoli lead 2-1 at halftime of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie, with Juan Mata, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani scoring the goals. There's been some great attacking play and some terrible defending on both ends, and there easily could have been more goals.

Hugo Campagnaro and Didier Drogba had an early collision, resulting in a fountain of blood forming on Campagnaro's forehead. He was given some sort of odd hairnet contraption that struggled to control the bleeding, and he'll probably have some kind of treatment at halftime to sort that out.

Edinson Cavani had the first great chance of the match in the 10th minute, but Petr Cech rose to the occasion and made a brilliant save. Gökhan Inler set up the chance with a brilliant ball over the top, which Cavani ran onto. He put a shot on target, but Cech did well to kick it away.

Shortly afterwards, Jose Bosingwa pulled up with an injured hamstring. He requested a substitution immediately, and was replaced by Ashley Cole.

Napoli continued to push forward and looked like the better team for most of the first half hour of the match, but Chelsea found a goal against the run of play, partially thanks to some terrible defending. Daniel Sturridge created it with a cross into the box, but the real assist came from a botched clearance by Paolo Cannavaro. He inadvertently headed the ball right into the path of Juan Mata, who finished to give Chelsea a 1-0 lead.

Cannavaro would have a couple of other errors before the end of the half, giving David Luiz a free header on a corner and Ramires a free shot on goal late in the half as well. Luckily for him, two of the three chances he gave up were missed and his attack bailed him out late in the half.

Ezequiel Lavezzi scored the equalizer in the 38th minute, and Raul Meireles will probably have to deal with some criticism from his manager for his lack of defending. He gave Lavezzi all kinds of time and space to cut in from the left to the center of the pitch, then curl a 20-yard shot past Cech at his far post.

It appeared as if the two teams would head into halftime tied, but in the second minute of first half stoppage time, Cavani put his team ahead. He'd been dangerous throughout the half, and his goal was no more than he deserved for his first half efforts. Inler played a cross in from the right and Cavani got free at the back post, nudging the ball into the net with his shoulder as Branislav Ivanovic was left helpless.

For more on the Blues, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History.

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