Kepa rose for the Blues as Chelsea land European Super Cup success
|Chelsea players mob Kepa Arizabalaga after he saved from Raul Albiol to decide the Super Cup on Wednesday night: (Photo credit: @ChampionsLeague via Twitter)|
Chelsea’s backup goalkeeper Kepa Arizabalaga made two saves from the spot to hand Chelsea their first-ever UEFA Super Cup victory after being denied three separate times by Atletico Madrid in 2012, Bayern Munich the following year and Liverpool in 2018.
Chelsea raced into a lead after a well-worked goal that featured Kai Havertz landed at the feet of Hakim Ziyech; the Moroccan did just enough to drive his effort past Sergio Asenjo in the Villarreal goal and from there it looked like Chelsea was going to have a filled night.
Unai Emery reorganized his team and stopped Chelsea’s free-flowing football for a moment but it was Sergio Asenjo that soon made the next save from the feet of Havertz; the German seems to have settled in well and will have a fantastic season under Thomas Tuchel.
Hakim Ziyech was taken off after dislocating his shoulder, on came Christian Pulisic and he almost got on the score sheet but for fine defending from the Yellow Submarines. With seconds remaining in the first half, Gerrard Moreno stuck the under of the crossbar and for a moment he thought he had scored.
Villareal stormed into the second half and hit the upright again when the usually assured Edouard Mendy miscued and it later fell to Moreno who stuck the base of the upright, a huge let-off for the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Villareal soon levelled, Moreno swept home after another moment of indecision at the back for the Blues and from there on, it felt like Chelsea would lose it.
Both managers rang changes but as the game ended goalless in normal time, one big decision by Tuchel with few minutes left on the clock in the second half of extra-time proved the difference.
Kepa Arizabalaga was brought on to replace Mendy and the Spaniard saved twice to save the blushes of Havertz who started the kicks for Chelsea and missed. Raul Albiol missed the decisive penalty as Kepa guessed right to his right.
Chelsea begin their league battles against Crystal Palace on Saturday while Villareal are away to Granada in their league opener in La Liga.