UEFA Super Cup: Chelsea Defeat Villarreal 6-5 On Penalties

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Chelsea started the new season 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 Arrizabalaga was the unlikely hero when he was introduced late in extra time as a substitute for the shootout by Thomas Tuchel.

The Spaniard rewarded his manager’s faith with saves from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol.

“It was not spontaneous,” said Tuchel who explained the plan had been hatched in the FA Cup last season.

“We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the first cup game against Barnsley.

“Kepa has the best percentage at saving penalties, the analysing guys and goalkeeping coaches showed me the data.

“We spoke to the players that this could happen when we play in knockout games. It’s fantastic how Edouard (Mendy) accepted it.

“There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline. They’re team players.

“Edouard does not show the pride to not step off the field. He was happy to do it for the team and take this for the team.”

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In stark contrast to Chelsea’s haul of now 20 trophies in the nearly 20 years since Roman Abramovich’s takeover transformed the club, Villarreal’s Europa League final victory over Manchester United in May secured their first-ever silverware.

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