Kepa the hero as Chelsea win Super Cup on penalties

Chelsea won the Super Cup in dramatic circumstances as Kepa Arrizabalaga came off . With the teams locked at 1-1 after extra-time it took a 6-5 win on penalties at Windsor Park in Belfast for Thomas Tuchel’s side to win it thanks to their substitute goalkeeper.

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Kepa only came on for Edouard Mendy with seconds remaining but after saving from Aissa Mendy to cancel out Kai Havertz’s miss, he won the trophy by denying Raul Albiol.

Chelsea had taken a deserved lead after 27 minutes thanks to Hakim Ziyech but Villarreal improved from there and earned their equaliser through Gerard Moreno after 73 minutes.

Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea saves from Aissa Mandi of Villarreal in the shootout during the UEFA Super Cup 2021 match between Chelsea FC and Villarreal CF at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
Image:Kepa Arrizabalaga saved twice in the shootout after coming on as a substitute in extra-time

Neither team found a winner in extra-time but Tuchel’s surprise tactical switch secured Chelsea their second Super Cup win and their first for 23 years.

“We talked about it with the goalkeepers when we [Tuchel and his coaching team] came and had the first cup game against Barnsley,” he told BT Sport.

“So we had some statistics, we were well prepared, [knowing] that Kepa is the best percentage at saving penalties.

“The analysing guys, the goalkeeping coaches showed me, introduced me to the data and then we spoke with the players that this can happen when we play in knockout games.

“It’s fantastic Edou [Mendy] accepts it. He puts his ego to one side when we take this decision and he is aware why we do this, this is the key. He knows it’s not a sudden idea of the manager.

“There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline and these guys are team players. I’m happy for Kepa and Edou, to have a goalkeeper like this who is not too proud to step out of the field and happy to take this for the team.”

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