Kepa Became Hero as Chelsea Won Super Cup

by | Aug 12, 2021 | Sports | 0 comments

Kepa Arrizabalaga (on the left in green shirt) Photo Credit: Flickr

As Chelsea started the new season, Kepa Arrizabalaga became the unlikely hero as they ended the last with a European trophy by beating Villarreal 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to win the Uefa Super Cup in Belfast.

Kepa of Spain has lost his place as number one since joining the club for a world record fee for a goalkeeper in 2018. He was introduced late in extra-time as a replacement for the shootout by Thomas Tuchel of Germany. 

The Spaniard refused to be replaced by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in a League Cup final defeat to Manchester City two years ago. However, he rewarded his manager’s faith with saves from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol.

Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in Porto to lift the Champions League for a second time in May was the culmination of a meteoric rise in Tuchel’s first five months in charge. 

The German has expressed discontent in having to manage a 42-man squad during pre-season. He could soon have even more firepower to call on with Romelu Lukaku and expected to complete a return to Stamford Bridge later this week for a club record of £97 million (RM572.4 million). But the depth of resources available to Tuchel was on show early on.

Meanwhile, Euro 2020 finalists Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Jorginho had to settle for a place on the bench after their late return to pre-season training while Chelsea still had far too much for the Europa League winners in the opening half hour.