Substitute goalkeeper Kepa saved two penalties in the shoot-out to help Chelsea clinch the Super Cup title for the first time since 1998 and their first silverware of the new season, beating Villareal 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in Porto to lift the Champions League for a second time in May brought them in this match with the Europa League winners Villareal.
“It was not spontaneous,” said Tuchel. “We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the first cup game against Barnsley. Kepa has the best percentage at saving penalties, the analyzing 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.
Kepa was known for being fined when he refused to be replaced by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in a League Cup final defeat to Manchester City two years ago. “It’s not a typical situation but we arrived to penalties after Edouard did a fantastic job. Finally we won and we are so happy,” Kepa said. “I was ready because I knew this could happen. I tried to be ready, mentally and physically.”
Hakim Ziyech continued his fine pre-season form into competitive action with the opening goal before he was forced off before half-time in a sling by a shoulder injury. Villareal’s first attempt to equalize the match was through their new signing Boulaye Dia but Mendy denied this debut goal. Tuchel turned to his bench to bring Mason Mount, Jorginho and Andreas Christensen on the pitch.
However, the Spaniards got their equalizer when Gerard Moreno played a clever one-two with Dia before firing high past Mendy. The match entered an extra time shootout. Kepa was brought on to replace Edouard Mendy for the ensuing penalty shootout. Tuchel’s gamble paid off when Antonio Rüdiger made it 6-5 and Kepa saved two penalties from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol to seal the win.
Moreno, who scored eight goals in his last nine appearances for Villarreal in European competition, was the Player of the Match despite the loss. “It wasn’t meant to be for us but today is a day to be proud. Proud of the team, of the fans, of what the club is, of what the people are. We’re now competing with the best. Chelsea were the favourites. For me, they’re the best team in the world,” Moreno said.
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