Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (6-5 on penalties): Kepa Arrizabalaga is Super Cup hero as Thomas Tuchel's side win on penalties

Posted Thursday, August 12, 2021 by

Report as Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Villarreal in Belfast; Hakim Ziyech and Gerard Moreno scored in normal time; Kepa Arrizabalaga came on as a substitute late in extra-time before saving two spot-kicks

Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (6-5 on penalties): Kepa Arrizabalaga is Super Cup hero as Thomas Tuchel's side win on penalties

Chelsea won the Super Cup in dramatic circumstances as Kepa Arrizabalaga came off the bench to be the penalty hero against Villarreal.

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.

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.

Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (6-5 on penalties): Kepa Arrizabalaga is Super Cup hero as Thomas Tuchel's side win on penalties
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.

How Chelsea won the Super Cup

Villarreal defended deep from the outset with Chelsea wing-backs Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso both getting in behind inside the first five minutes of the match.

Timo Werner forced a smart save from Sergio Asenjo with a volley from a corner and N'Golo Kante, captaining Chelsea, then won the ball back before just firing wide of the target.

Unai Emery's side seemed to settle by the midway point of the first half but were then caught out by an excellent Chelsea move instigated by Alonso from deep on the left.

His pass found the run of Havertz and the German's cut-back from the wide position went behind Werner but fell nicely for Ziyech to divert the ball into the net.

Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (6-5 on penalties): Kepa Arrizabalaga is Super Cup hero as Thomas Tuchel's side win on penalties
Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech celebrates after scoring for Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup

Unfortunately for Ziyech, his evening was over soon after. A mid-air collision with Juan Foyth resulted in an injury to his shoulder and plenty of pain. Christian Pulisic replaced him.

The incident seemed to curtail Chelsea's momentum and Villarreal, having already tested Edouard Mendy through Boulaye Dia came close to equalising in first-half stoppage time.

Gerard Moreno twisted and turned in the right channel, finding enough space to cross to the far post and find Alberto Moreno whose left-footed volley crashed off the crossbar.

With six of the previous eight Super Cups having gone to extra-time, it was another reminder for Chelsea that despite their strong start the job was not yet done.

It turned out to be a sign of things to come too as Villarreal pushed for the equaliser.

They came very close to finding it when Mendy's slip while kicking allowed Gerard Moreno to run through but the goalkeeper recovered to push the shot against the foot of the post.

With pressure building, young Trevor Chalobah was very busy at the back, occasionally caught out of position but always combative as Chelsea battled to retain their advantage.

Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (6-5 on penalties): Kepa Arrizabalaga is Super Cup hero as Thomas Tuchel's side win on penalties
Hakim Ziyech left the pitch with an injury during the first half of the match

Tuchel has made a habit of racking up 1-0 wins in the big games but there was to be no repeat here - the leveller coming in the 73rd minute when Dia teed up Gerard Moreno.

It was fine work by the Spain international, a deserved equaliser on the basis of Villarreal's efforts upon going behind. and a goal that made him the club's record goalscorer.

Chelsea turned to the bench but could not turn the tide, Villarreal finishing the stronger in normal time and continuing to dominate possession into extra-time without creating much.

In fact, it was Pulisic who had the first good chance during the extra period, his shot just a little rushed when well placed inside the box after good work by fellow sub Mason Mount.

Mount himself had the next chance, drawing an impressive save from Asenjo high to the goalkeeper's left, but there was no extra-time winner - just substitution drama.

Tuchel turned to Kepa to replace Mendy in Chelsea's goal with seconds remaining, an ironic switch given that the Spaniard refused to be subbed in the 2019 Carabao Cup final.

When Havertz saw the first kick saved by Asenjo, Kepa was already under pressure and though he was unable to keep out Gerard Moreno's kick, he did save well from Aissa Mandi.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Alonso and Mount all converted their penalties before Jorginho also beat Asenjo, putting right his error from the spot in the final of Euro 2020 just weeks earlier.

It went to the seventh kicks with Antonio Rudiger stroking the ball calmly home before the veteran Albiol was unable to match him, Kepa saving smartly away to his right.

It vindicated Tuchel's decision as the Chelsea coach added a second trophy to the Champions League that he won in May.

He can do no wrong.

What Tuchel said about the Kepa substitution

"It was not spontaneous," the Chelsea manager told BT Sport.

"We talked about it with the goalkeepers when we came and had the first cup game against Barnsley. So we had some statistics, we were well prepared, that Kepa is the best in percentage in saving penalties.

"The analysis guys and the goalkeeping coaches showed me, introduced me to the data, then we spoke with the players, that this can happen when we play in knockout game, and since then they know.

"It's fantastic how Eddy accepts it. It's fantastic how this talk went before the cup game in Barnsley. Since then they know. Of course we needed to do what's good for the team. It was necessary. I'm happy that it worked.

"There is proof that Kepa is better at this discipline. These guys are true team players. I am happy for Kepa and happy for Eddy, to have a goalkeeper like this, to not show the pride to not step off the field, and is happy to do it for the team, to take one for the team. It's top."

What next for Chelsea?

Chelsea celebrated this victory vociferously but perhaps there will be Crystal Palace supporters who also welcomed the energy being expended by the European champions. Palace are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Tuchel himself noted his concern even while enjoying the moment in Belfast. "Mentally a good one, physically the worst thing that can happen, to then play Saturday afternoon. Victory and a trophy helps us regenerate and we have to be careful now."

Glorified friendly, welcome piece of silverware or both? The Community Shield goes to penalties after 90 minutes but this contest ran for the full two hours. Perhaps we will find out just how much that has taken out of some of these Chelsea players this Saturday.

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