Super Cup Final
Just before the new Premier League season, Chelsea traveled to Belfast to face Villareal in the European Super Cup. The Blues, who have lost all three of their previous Super Cup games, were looking to avoid succumbing to the same fate as Arsenal and Manchester United last season and take home some cutlery early in the season.
To this end, Tuchel named a strong side, with a surprise inclusion for Trevor Chalobah, 22, who was rewarded for his excellent preseason performances.
Your Chelsea team news for tonight! 🔵 pic.twitter.com/OBJRoBWZsF
– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 11, 2021
There were also starts for Timo Werner, Marcos Alonso and Kai Havertz, while Mason Mount and Jorginho, both newcomers to Euro2020, were on the bench.
Fast off the mark
Thomas Tuchel’s team made a quick start, brimming with confidence in the later part of their successful preseason. Pinning Unai Emery’s winger, Chelsea passed close to Timo Werner in the first 15 minutes, before Hakim Ziyech swept a Kai Havertz cross just before half an hour for the first goal.
Havertz ➡️ Ziyech ⚽️pic.twitter.com/55wuN62eky
– 101 great goals (@ 101greatgoals) August 11, 2021
Unfortunately for the Moroccan and Chelsea, their night was cut short shortly before the break. A seemingly harmless challenge from a Villareal corner left the winger cradling his shoulder as he was quickly replaced by Christian Pulisic.
Villareal strikes back
Villareal offered little threat in the first half, but their first real opportunity came close to leveling the score, with former Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno breaking a shot from the bottom of the crossbar before the ball was cleared.
Unai Emery’s team was on the verge of returning to the tie within minutes of the second half, when a bad pass from the Chelsea goalkeeper fell at the feet of the shooter Gerard Moreno. Fortunately for the blues, the woodworking came to their rescue for the second time, with the Spaniard’s effort bouncing off the post.
Villareal continued to grow in the game and deservedly tied when Gerard Moreno found the top corner midway through the second half.
Gol vs Man Utd in the final of the Europa League ✅
Goal vs Chelsea in Super Cup ✅
Gerard Moreno ties for Villarreal and becomes the top scorer in the club’s history 💛 pic.twitter.com/MZU0uVfNuT
– Goal (@goal) August 11, 2021
The match continued to open, with a shout from Chelsea for handball rejected by referee Sergei Karasev as the tie was inevitably heading towards extra time.
Tuchel’s team, with a rhythm somewhat interrupted by substitutions, shone again in the first half of extra time and had another well-rejected penalty cry as they searched for a winner.
However, neither team could find the vital breakthrough, and when Kepa replaced Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the 119th minute, it was clear that both sides were settling for penalties.
Chelsea triumphs on penalties
Villareal, of course, have a history of winning tournaments on penalties, defeating Manchester United 11-10 in the Europa League final shootout in May. However, this time it wasn’t going to be like that.
In front of traveling Spanish fans, Kai Havertz found his opening penalty stopped by Sergio Asenjo, before Gerard Moreno shot Kepa. Azpilicueta put Chelsea in gear, placing the ball in the corner, before a Kepa save ensured Chelsea leveled on the penalty shoot-out.
With disconcertingly good penalties from both sides, the tie was headed for sudden death, and it was veteran defender Raúl Albiol who ultimately missed costly for Unai Emery’s team, sending Chelsea fans delirious.
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