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Kepa’s saves in penalty shootout wins Chelsea the UEFA Super Cup

Kepa’s saves in penalty shootout wins Chelsea the UEFA Super Cup

Chelsea FC won the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday with a 6-5 penalty shootout victory over Villarreal FC at Windsor Park in Belfast to get the 2021-22 European season underway. The two sides were tied, 1-1, at the end of 90 minutes and the end of extra time.

Hakim Ziyech gave the Blues the lead in the first half, scoring in the 27th minute. Ziyech was substituted with a shoulder injury later in the first half, however, as American Christian Pulisic took his place. After some crossbar and post-rattling misses for the La Liga side, Gerard Moreno equalized for Villarreal in the 73rd minute.

Thomas Tuchel’s men ultimately triumphed on penalties, but the Chelsea manager made a surprise move before the end of the second period of extra time by bringing on backup goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for starter Edouard Mendy.

Thomas Tuchel

The move, like most of Tuchel’s in 2021, worked out. Kepa saved two penalties, including stopping Raul Albiol’s to clinch the victory. Pulisic, Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger were among the successful penalty takers for the Blues, who scored six straight PKs after Kai Havertz missed the opener.

When Tuchel was asked about his bold move, he had this to say:

“It was not spontaneous. We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the first cup game against Barnsley. We had some statistics. We were well prepared.”

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Unai Emery, a four-time UEFA Europa League winner, continues his curious inability to claim a Super Cup title after losing all three times with Sevilla.

The win also means that Chelsea is the second English team to win the cup multiple times with Tuchel being the only Chelsea manager to win to major European trophies for the club.

The focus now shifts to the UEFA Champions League as both teams await the Aug. 26 draw in Turkey where they will learn which teams are in their respective groups.

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