Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup in dramatic fashion, with Kepa Arrizabalaga being the penalty hero against Villarreal after coming off the bench.
With the score tied 1-1 after extra time, Thomas Tuchel’s side needed a 6-5 triumph on penalties at Windsor Park in Belfast, thanks to their substitute goalkeeper.
Kepa only came on for Edouard Mendy with seconds left, but he won the trophy by denying Raul Albiol after saving from Aissa Mendy to cancel out Kai Havertz’s error.
Chelsea took a deserved lead through Hakim Ziyech after 27 minutes, but Villarreal improved from there and equalized through Gerard Moreno after 73 minutes.
In extra time, neither club could find a winner. But Tuchel’s surprise tactical decision gave Chelsea their second Super Cup victory, and their first in 23 years.
CHELSEA WIN THE UEFA SUPER CUP! pic.twitter.com/sNC5YMx7C0
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 11, 2021
Chelsea won the Super Cup: Talking Points
Chelsea wingers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso both got in behind Villarreal’s defense within the first five minutes.
With a volley from a corner, Timo Werner forced a smart save from Sergio Asenjo. Chelsea captain N’Golo Kante subsequently won the ball back before hitting just wide of the target.
Unai Emery’s team appeared to be settling by the halfway point of the first half. Nevertheless, they were caught off guard by a great Chelsea move started by Alonso from deep on the left flank.
His pass found Havertz in the middle of the field, and the German’s cut-back from wide went behind Werner but fell neatly for Ziyech to redirect the ball into the net.
Ziyech’s evening, unfortunately, came to an end soon after. A mid-air collision with Juan Foyth resulted in a shoulder injury and a lot of suffering for him. Christian Pulisic took his position.
Chelsea’s momentum seemed to be hampered by the incident. Villarreal, who had earlier challenged Edouard Mendy through Boulaye Dia, came close to equalizing in first-half stoppage time.
Chelsea went to the bench but were unable to change the tide, with Villarreal ending the game stronger in normal time and dominating possession into extra time without creating much.
Pulisic, in fact, had the first decent chance of the extra session, his effort a little rushed despite being well situated inside the box following nice work by fellow sub Mason Mount.
A Nerves-Wrecking Super Cup Penalty Shoot-out
With seconds remaining, Tuchel opted for Kepa to replace Mendy in Chelsea’s goal. An odd move given the Spaniard’s refusal to be substituted in the 2019 Carabao Cup final.
Kepa was already under pressure when Havertz watched Asenjo save the first kick. And while he was unable to save Gerard Moreno’s kick, he did make a good save from Aissa Mandi.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Alonso, and Mount all converted penalties before Jorginho beat Asenjo for the second time, avenging his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final just weeks before.
It went to the seventh penalty kick, with Antonio Rudiger simply gliding the ball home before the seasoned Albiol was unable to equal him, with Kepa save cleanly to his right.
Tuchel’s choice was vindicated, as the Chelsea manager added a second trophy to the Champions League he won in May.
What’s next for Chelsea?
Chelsea fans were ecstatic, but Crystal Palace fans may have appreciated the effort put in by the European winners. On Saturday afternoon, Crystal Palace will visit Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel expressed his worries even as he was enjoying himself in Belfast. “To then play Saturday afternoon is mentally a good thing, but physically the worst thing that can happen. Victory and a trophy aid in our regeneration, but we must be cautious now.”
Is it a lauded, welcoming piece of silverware or both? The Community Shield is decided by penalties after 90 minutes; however, this game lasted two hours. This Saturday, we might find out just how much that has taken out of some of Chelsea’s players.