Chelsea's veterans show their worth on memorable night

John Terry and the other old hands lead the way in a rousing Champions League victory over Napoli

1: Didier Drogba

Chelsea had heaved to contain Napoli early on, yet in the Ivorian leading their line they have a battering ram capable of turning round any tie. Drogba was magnificent, his thumping header from Ramires' pinpoint cross offering his side hope just as Napoli's class threatened to tell. It was the 34-year-old's 37th Champions League goal in 71 appearances. A second-half spin and half-volley, brilliantly saved by Morgan de Sanctis, also took the breath away and he set up Branislav Ivanovic's deciding goal in extra-time. The striker's contract is up in the summer and he is expected to leave, probably for China, so there is an irony that Chelsea are likely to lean on him far more in the weeks ahead than their £50m substitute Fernando Torres as they seek to secure a vital top four finish.

2: Frank Lampard

A glance at the team sheet suggested Lampard has had to tweak his role to be accommodated in Roberto Di Matteo's favoured 4-2-3-1, yet there was very little deep-lying about his positioning here. Instead the England veteran scuttled upfield whenever he could with Chelsea seeking reassurance in his presence and poise in his delivery, from which Terry benefited so gloriously just after the interval. Napoli's slippery pace was still too much at times. Booked for a lunge at Juan Zúñiga, he must have cursed an inability to suffocate Gokhan Inler's half-volley as the Italians burst back into contention. Yet it took immense nerve to step up for the penalty, this team having missed five this season, and he never looked as if he would falter.

3: Michael Essien

The Ghanaian is happier sitting deeper these days, ligament damage in both his knees having blunted his ability to explode through the centre in support of the attack. Walter Gargano was a daunting opponent here and, when Napoli clicked, Essien was bypassed. His tackling was ferocious at times, yet how this team craves his thrust of old, the effervescent bursts that even disrupted Barcelona in the early stages of the 2009 semi-final. Maybe Essien will regain some of that former fizz but he is still rusty at present, catching up with the season after months in rehabilitation.. For now, the old Bison is missed.

4: John Terry

The captain had been at his tub-thumping best in the build-up, restored to the starting line-up just in time for this tense occasion after his own knee trouble. Chelsea had missed his strong-arm presence and there was little surprise it was the centre-half crunching in to stifle Marek Hamsik's early burst or glancing a wonderful header beyond De Sanctis which briefly drew Chelsea level in the tie. The 31-year-old remains a source of inspiration for those around him in this team and insists there are "a few good years" in him yet, even if he did hobble off in extra-time. Regardless, he will surely still be integral to the next Chelsea manager's plans.

5: Petr Cech

The idea that Cech's long-term future might be under threat may feel unlikely but Thibault Courtois's startling progress while on loan at Atletico Madrid demands acknowledgment. The 19-year-old Belgian, signed last summer from Genk, has already kept 17 clean sheets in 34 games in all competitions and appears most first-team ready of all Chelsea's current loaned youngsters. Cech, however, staked his case to remain first choice. At times in the early stages he appeared to be keeping the visitors at bay single-handed, his blocks from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Hamsik ensuring his side remained afloat, and there was another fine save to thwart Zúñiga. He remains a player with plenty to offer.

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