Kepa is the hero of the Super Bowl, although he remained in reserve until the 119th minute
The charm of matches like the European Super Cup is that clubs like Villarreal are one step away from the trophy. Of course, for this you need to jump over your head. Chelsea are UEFA Champions League winners who are spending £ 100m on strengthening their already excellent squad and are one of the favorites of any tournament they play in. But this is just one match, and in one match in football anything can happen.
The goal reflected the course of the game. At this point, the score was 4-0 in favor of Chelsea. After that, for a while, Villarreal took over the advantage: the pattern of the match did not change, but the yellow bus met the Londoners a little higher and more often unclenched in counterattacks. Dia could have scored a return goal when he jerked between the central defenders (Rüdiger jumped out of the line, Chalobah was confused and did not cut the zone), but Mendy pulled out of the goal in time and helped out.
Villarreal created another dangerous moment in the very ending. By that time, Chelsea had clearly lost rhythm, it was due to Ziyech’s injury. Bad luck: Hakim played great in the preseason, scored in the Super Bowl and was injured in his arms. He needed the help of doctors, the game stopped for a few minutes, a stretcher was even carried out on the field, although in the end he left himself. Pulisic was replaced.
Already in stoppage time, Chelsea could well have missed when the defense simply overslept the connection of Alberto Moreno, and he struck the crossbar from close range.
As much as Chelsea were in control of the game in the first half hour, just as radically lost control after the break. Mendy even stopped playing short: the opponents turned on high pressure, and the goalkeeper preferred not to risk it. Perhaps it was part of the plan to give the ball and defend the score, but, firstly, Tuchel had already taught that it is possible to play on hold with the ball, and secondly, Villarreal managed to play the pass dangerously close to the goal and create pressure. True, the best moment happened after the mistake: Mendy’s leg went, he presented the ball to Dia, and he brought Gerard Moreno almost one-on-one, but the striker hit the post.
Perhaps it’s a matter of saving energy. Chelsea are facing a tough season with the Club World Cup, and many have played in the European Championship and America’s Cup. But it was risky. Villarreal pressed, brazenly took the ball in someone else’s half (in the first half there was no high pressure at all) and naturally leveled the score. And again after interception in the wrong half of the field. Rudiger unsuccessfully knocked out the ball in the crowd, Gaspar intercepted well, and Gerard Moreno and Dia played a combination in the penalty area just as well. Cool goal.
Chelsea have been missing the game for a long time and consistently. Tuchel clearly saw this and made a series of substitutions, one in each line, (Mount, Jorginho, Christensen came out, after the goal of Azpilicueta), but this did not change the game pattern. By the time Moreno scored the score in the second half, the score was 3: 5, but for shots from the penalty area – 0: 4 in favor of Villarreal.
A 120-minute match in the first game of the season is hardly what both teams need. But nevertheless, when the score was 1: 1, the game was closed. In overtime (why are they even needed in this match?) The teams looked exactly as they should look under stress before the start of the season.
Chelsea got tired faster. The pace dropped, and a few geometrically good attacks didn’t come to anything just because they were slowly developing. The best moment for both teams happened in the 100th minute. Pulisic finished off a great combination for Chelsea, but hit badly. For such a closed slow game, even one such moment is already a lot. At the same time, we must give Chelsea their due: albeit without chances, they regained control of the game with the score 1: 1, and even struck 11 shots (Villarreal had one from their own half of the field).
In the end, Tuchel surprised with an unexpected replacement. He took off Mendy and released Arrisabalaga on penalties. He didn’t mind. And he took a penalty from the substitute Mandy, and then the decisive blow from Albiol, when they beat to miss.
Thanks to Kepe and Tuchel, the match ended dramatically. Villarreal did their best and were closer to the Super Bowl than one might have thought before the game. And Chelsea have realized their superiority in resources: not every coach has a goalkeeper who, on average, takes about every fourth penalty in his career. Now I took two out of six. Also an unexpected hero of the match.