- Kepa was Chelsea's match hero as he inspired the Blues to the club's first UEFA Super Cup title in 23 years
- The Spanish goalkeeper saved two penalty spot-kicks as Chelsea stunned Villarreal 6-5 in the shootouts to win the title
- Kepa was introduced in the dying minutes of the extra time, taking Edouard Mendy's place between the sticks
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Thomas Tuchel has explained Kepa Arrizabalaga's better record in the penalty shootouts influenced his decision to replace him with Édouard Mendy during Chelsea's UEFA Super Cup triumph over Villarreal.
Kepa started from the bench during the Wednesday, August 11, clash staged at Windsor Park, with Mendy starting in goal.
However, the Spaniard was introduced when the tie headed to the shootouts before inspiring the Blues to victory.
The two teams settled for a 1-1 draw after regulation time and extra time, with Hakim Ziyech scoring Chelsea's goal that was cancelled out by Gerard Moreno with 17 minutes left on the clock.
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The Blues kicked off the shootout on a negative note as Kai Havertz opening effort was saved by Sergio Asenjo.
However, Kepa helped the west Londoners prevail as he denied both Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol up to justify his introduction into the match.
While many had expressed concerns about his coming on, Tuchel explained the decision was made long before the match had kicked off.
"It was not spontaneous. We talked about it with the goalkeepers when we came and had the first cup game against Barnsley," Tuchel said as quoted by Metro UK.
"So we had some statistics, we were well prepared, [knowing] that Kepa is the best percentage at saving penalties."
"There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline and these guys are true team players. I’m happy for Kepa and happy for Edou," he added.
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Chelsea will now be looking to use the win to ensure they get off their Premier League campaign on a flying start.
The Stamford Bridge dwellers are scheduled to take on rivals Crystal Palace in their EPL curtain-raiser on Saturday, August 14.
Romelu Lukaku spotted with a Chelsea jersey
Briefly News previously reported that Romelu Lukaku's stunning return to Stamford Bridge appears to be inching closer after he was spotted holding what looked like a Chelsea shirt.
Briefly News understands the Inter Milan forward's move back to the Premier League is imminent having already had his medicals.
While the deal has not been confirmed, it appears as though Lukaku cannot wait to Don the blue colours once again, according to Metro UK.
Source: Briefly News