Sunday, December 15, 2019

Chelsea hero Kepa enjoys Wembley row redemption

SoccerNews in English Premier League 9 May 2019

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Kepa Arrizabalaga insisted his Wembley row with Maurizio Sarri was in the past but was happy to redeem himself by becoming Chelsea’s Europa League hero.

Shoot-out saves from Eintracht Frankfurt’s Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Paciencia sent the Blues through to a Europa League final against London rivals Arsenal in Baku.

Chelsea’s last cup final appearance saw incredible scenes at Wembley as Kepa, seemingly injured, refused to follow the instructions of Sarri and be substituted.

Manchester City went on to win the EFL Cup on spot-kicks, but Kepa made amends somewhat with his two saves enabling Eden Hazard to score the winning penalty at Stamford Bridge, where Thursday’s second leg finished 1-1 to make it 2-2 on aggregate. 

“Penalties is a bit of luck, we lose in the other final and win [today] – it’s football,” Kepa told BT Spot.

“The atmosphere was really good, we played against a difficult strong team and we are very happy.

“We always prepare for all the games, all the penalty shoot-outs, but we are lucky today.

“Wembley was the past, I learned, I said sorry to all the people but always we keep our work and today was another game, another semi-final and we are very happy to qualify for the final in Baku.”

Both the Europa League and Champions League finals will be contested by four clubs from the same country for the first time in football history, with Liverpool and Tottenham set for an all-English showdown in Madrid. 

“Football! In the last semi, in the EFL Cup versus Tottenham we won on penalties, we win today also,” added Kepa.

“Arsenal win? We have a strong final and a London derby.

“I think our season was a little difficult but we are in two big finals, qualified for the Champions League, so it’s a good season.”

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