Chelsea won the Super Cup in a spectacular manner, with Kepa Arrizabalaga being a spectacular penalty stopper against Villarreal.
Kepa Arrizabalaga came on as a substitute late in extra-time before saving two spot-kicks; Thomas Tuchel says the process had been in place since his first cup game with the club in February against Barnsley.
With just a minute left to extra-time against Villarreal in Belfast, Kepa came on to replace Chelsea No 1 Edouard Mendy with the score at 1-1, saving two penalties to guide the Blues to a 6-5 penalty shootout victory.
How Chelsea won the Uefa Super Cup 2021
At the start of the match Chelsea wingers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso both got in behind Villarreal defenders within the first five minutes of the game.
With a volley from a corner, Timo Werner forced a smart save from Sergio Asenjo, and 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, but they were caught off guard by an excellent Chelsea move started by Alonso from deep on the left flank.
Hakim Ziyech had a bittersweet evening as he continued his fine pre-season form into competitive action with the opening goal..
Marcos Alonso fed Kai Havertz down the right and from the German’s low cross cut-back from wide went behind Werner but fell nicely for Ziyech to divert the ball into the net.
However, the Moroccan was forced off before half-time in a sling by a shoulder injury.
Chelsea’s momentum seemed to be hampered by the incident, and Villarreal, who had already tested Edouard Mendy through Boulaye Dia, came close to equalizing in first-half stoppage time.
Gerard Moreno twisted and turned in the right channel, creating enough space to cross to the far post and find Alberto Moreno, whose left-footed shot hit the crossbar.
With six of the previous eight Super Cups going to extra time, it was another reminder for Chelsea that the job was far from done, despite their great start.
Villarreal pushed for an equalizer, and it proved to be a harbinger of things to come.
When Mendy slipped while kicking the ball, Gerard Moreno was able to run through, but the goalkeeper recovered to push the shot against the foot of the post.
With the pressure mounting, Chelsea’s youthful defender Trevor Chalobah was kept busy at the back, occasionally caught out of position but always aggressive as the Blues fought to maintain their lead.
Tuchel has a history of winning huge games by a solitary goal, but that was not to be the case here, with Dia teeing up Gerard Moreno in the 73rd minute.
It was excellent work from the Spain international, a justifiable equalizer based on Villarreal’s efforts after falling behind. and a goal that cemented his status as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Tuchel has a history of winning huge games by a solitary goal, but that was not to be the case here, with Dia teeing up Gerard Moreno in the 73rd minute.
It was excellent work from the Spain international, a justifiable equalizer based on Villarreal’s efforts after falling behind. and a goal that cemented his status as the club’s all-time leading scorer.
Chelsea went to the bench but was 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 good chance of the extra period, his shot a little rushed when well placed inside the box after good work by fellow substitute Mason Mount, who had an impressive save from Asenjo high to the goalkeeper’s left, but there was no extra-time winner – just substitution drama.
With seconds remaining, Tuchel turned to Kepa to replace Mendy in Chelsea’s goal, an amusing move.
Kepa was already under pressure when Havertz watched Asenjo stop the first kick, and while he was unable to keep Gerard Moreno’s kick out, he did save brilliantly from Aissa Mandi.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Alonso, and Mount all converted penalties before Jorginho defeated Asenjo, avenging his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final two weeks before.
It came down to the seventh kick with Antonio Rudiger simply stroking the ball calmly into the goalpost before the seasoned Albiol was unable to equal him, with Kepa save smartly away to his right.
This proved Thomas Tuchel decision to use kepa right and added a second trophy to the Champions league that he won in may.