Kepa Arizzabalaga ends Chelsea’s Super Cup struggle in a tight game against Villareal

Kepa Arizzabalaga turned out to Chelsea’s most surprising hero, as he saved two penalties. Chelsea wins the Super Cup, after 23 years, in a tight match against Villareal.

Kepa Arizzabalaga turned out to be the most surprising hero in a game which both teams could have won if they were luckier in front of the goal.

The match started with Chelsea absolutely dominating Unai Emery’s Villarreal. Chelsea’s strategy was to use their marauding wingbacks Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson Odoi to get behind the defence of the La Liga team. The intensity shown by Chelsea during the match led Villarreal pinned inside their box, hoping to take advantage of the number of Chelsea players in attacking positions. Hakim Ziyech was the one who opened the scoring at the 27th minute, when Kai Havertz ran behind Juan Foyth, receiving a pass from left wing-back Alonso. Havertz gave a delectable low grounded cross which was received by Ziyech and then he scored.


After the goal, Ziyech had to leave due to a shoulder injury he got when he had to defend a corner from the Chelsea end at the 43rd minute. He was replaced by American forward, Christian Pulisic. Thomas Tuchel got a yellow card when he protested against defender Antonio Rudiger’s foul being carded during the 45th minute.

Villarreal got a lifeline when left-back, Alberto Moreno’s shot ricocheted off the post, beating goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, inches off the goal line, just before the halftime whistle.

In the second half, the Yellow Submarine were the better team, pressing the opposing players with intensity. Gerardo Moreno had a big chance to equalise at the 52nd minute when goalkeeper Mendy uncharacteristically slipped during a goal kick. The ball straight went to Moreno, but the shot went past the goalkeeper and hit the left post. Moreno made it up by equalising at the 73rd minute, when Rudiger mistimed a pass, giving the ball straight to the Villarreal striker, who passed it to Boulaye Dia, who ran into the box and flicked it to Moreno, who finished it in style.

Both teams were level at the end of the second half. Chelsea dominated the extra time proceedings, but it wasn’t enough, as the match went into penalties. Mendy was surprisingly subbed out for Kepa, which did raise eyebrows initially.

Chelsea’s Havertz missed the first penalty, putting Chelsea behind as Villareal’s Moreno scored his. Kepa turned out to be the hero as he saved two penalties from Aïssa Mandi and Raul Albiol. Chelsea, meanwhile, scored six successive penalties, with Jorginho’s penalty being absolutely cold as it can be.

Chelsea won the match and the UEFA Super Cup, after 23 years. They last won it against Real Madrid, in 1998. They lost three Super Cup ties in a row, against Atletico Madrid in 2012, Bayern Munich in 2013 and Liverpool in 2019. Kepa turned out to be the most “out of the blue” hero for Chelsea as they lifted their 2nd Super Cup trophy ending their curse.