Chelsea breaks Super Cup penalty curse to win in Belfast

Chelsea breaks Super Cup penalty curse to win in Belfast

Chelsea are Super Cup champions for the second time in their history having contested five and lost three. Two of those three defeats were in penalties against Bayern Munich in 2013 and Liverpool in 2019.

Villarreal who thumped Manchester United in penalties to win their first-ever European trophy requiring all 22 players on the pitch to take a kick today were unlucky against the West London side.

Unai Emery was without his hero against the Red Devils though at Belfast and his replacement was a capable fit as he saved Kai Havertz kick to give his side the advantage.

After a dominant 45 minutes, Chelsea was 1 – 0 up as they headed for the break courtesy of an Hakim Ziyech opener in the 27th minute. The Morrocan however had his time on the pitch cut short after sustaining a shoulder injury with barely two minutes to play in the first half.

Having failed to turn their first-half dominance into more goals, the Blues watched as Unai Emery side grew with confidence and fought their way back into the game. They rightly got the best reward for their efforts in the second when Gerard Moreno scored to level matters at Windsor Park.

Neither side managed a goal with Villarreal being the better side in the half. The first half of extra time was also a Chelsea half as they dominated play and created better chances. They however could not convert any and followed it up with a barren 15 minutes of extra time second half as both sides laboured to see out the game.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel made a bold and somewhat surprising substitution when he sent in Kepa Arrizabalaga with less than two minutes to play in a bid to have him play for the penalties. Kepa, famous for his refusal to come off in a Carabao Cup final against Manchester City under Sarri was today the beneficiary of the late calls as Mendy warmly patted his back in a show of trust and encouragement.

Kepa would go on to be the hero which he failed to be three years ago in that famous incident against City. He was too big in the post for Mandi who took the Yellow Submarines second kick to level it for Chelsea following kai Havertz earlier miss.

He was again in the right place to deny Raul Albiol as Chelsea stood firm to win the trophy that has eluded them for 23 years since their first win against Real Madrid in 1998 in Monaco.

Unai Emery misery with the UEFA curtain-raiser trophy continues and he has now suffered his third defeat in the final. What a start to the season for Chelsea and what a win for Tuchel who has now won two of the three finals he has played as Chelsea manager?

By: Clifford Adumbire |

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