Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy credited one another after the former was introduced in extra-time and produced shoot-out heroics to ensure Chelsea’s first Super Cup win since 1998.
Penalties were required after Gerard Moreno cancelled out Hakim Ziyech’s opener and, in the closing minutes of extra-time, Thomas Tuchel sent on Kepa at Windsor Park.
The Spanish goalkeeper stepped up to the plate, denying both Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol, to secure a 6-5 shoot-out victory and Chelsea’s second Super Cup success at the fifth time of asking.
While Tuchel hailed his analysts and backroom staff for the decision based on statistics after the game, the two goalkeepers rejoiced together when speaking to BT Sport.
“It’s not a typical situation but we arrived to penalties after Edouard did a fantastic job,” Kepa said. “Finally we won and we are so happy.
“I was ready because I knew this could happen. I tried to be ready mentally and physically.”
Kepa, who had been pre-warned that this could be the case should the final go to penalties, is simply statistically better at saving penalties according to Tuchel, hence why the decision was made.
Mendy’s saves against Boulaye Dia and Gerard Moreno kept Chelsea in front and, despite conceding later on and being removed with minutes to go, he also echoed similar sentiments stood alongside his fellow goalkeeper.
“I’m happy because we won,” the former Rennes man added. “I knew since last year that if Kepa came on the pitch he would help the team.
“It’s a team effort. We play for Chelsea and for success. We did this today together.”
3/47 – Just three of the 47 Super Cup finals have gone to penalties, with Chelsea being involved in all three – winning tonight, and losing against Bayern Munich in 2013 and Liverpool in 2019. Awaited. pic.twitter.com/KdyHeFaU87
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 11, 2021
While the pair enjoyed the collective effort that secured the win, it was not all positive news for Chelsea, who lost Hakim Ziyech to a shoulder injury in the first half.
The Moroccan playmaker returned to the stands before the second half with his arm in a sling and Chelsea now await an update as they prepare for their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on August 14.
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