Sports Desk, Aug 11 (EFE).- Villarreal were level with Chelsea at 1-1 after 120-plus minutes in Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup, but Blues backup goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga stopped two of the Spanish side’s penalty-takers to secure the trophy for the Premier League club.
The Champions League winners were heavily favored against a LaLiga squad who had never conquered a major title before they upset Manchester United three months ago in the Europa League final.
The Blues took the lead in the 27th minute on a goal by Hakim Ziyech, who would leave the match hurt just before half-time after a collision with Villarreal’s Juan Foyth.
Despite enjoying 62 percent possession, Chelsea sputtered in the second half and Gerard Moreno equalized for the Yellow Submarine in the 73rd minute to the delight of the traveling supporters among the crowd at Windsor Park in Belfast.
Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo denied Mason Mount on the best chance for either team in the 30 minutes of extra time and the contest went to penalties.
The Spanish team were hoping for a repeat of their triumph over Man United on penalties in the Europa League final and the shootout began well for them, as Asenjo stopped Kai Havertz.
Gerard scored and Cesar Azpilicueta answered for the Blues before Kepa – brought in by coach Thomas Tuchel with a minute left in extra time – stopped Aissa Mandi to leave both teams at one-for-two.
Then followed three rounds of successful shots from Marcos Alonso, Mount and Jorgihno (Chelsea) and Pervis Estupiñan, Moi Gomez and Dani Raba (Villarreal), leaving the teams even at 4-4 and forcing sudden death.
Pulisic and Foyth traded goals and unlikely taker Antonio Rüdiger converted, but Kepa thwarted 35-year-old Raul Albiol to win it for Chelsea. EFE sm/dr