In the end, the European shot play started precisely the mode it finished past play - with Chelsea lifting a trophy. However, that's lone fractional the communicative of this morning's (AEST) UEFA Super Cup successful Belfast.
This week the full shot satellite has been grappling with the question - however bash the smaller teams halt mega-rich clubs similar PSG, Manchester City and Chelsea, powered by petro-dollars, from dominating? This morning, Villarreal, a Spanish squad from a municipality the size of Port Macquarie, gave an inspiring answer.
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Chelsea, the astir palmy squad successful London, person a wage measure of implicit $530 cardinal per season. In examination Villarreal's fund is astir 4 times smaller astatine $137 million.
Tomorrow, it is wide reported that Chelsea volition wage different $183 cardinal conscionable to bring successful striker Romelu Lukaku - who Chelsea sold for $53 cardinal successful 2014 - from Inter Milan successful Italy. But today, Villarreal pushed them each the way.
The people finished 1-1 aft 120 minutes of play, and truthful penalties were needed to determine this match. They accidental acquisition counts for a batch successful high-pressure punishment shootouts. Try telling that to 35-year-old Raul Albiol, a World Cup victor with Spain, who saw his decisive punishment saved by 26-year-old Kepa Arrizabalaga to spot Chelsea prevail 6-5 successful the shootout.
The lucifer started similar astir expected it would - Chelsea dominating possession and creating galore chances. Last season's Champions League winners opened the scoring successful the 27th infinitesimal done Hakim Ziyech.
Left wing-back Marcos Alonso played a delightful shot successful down the Villarreal defence for German planetary Kai Havertz and the 22-year-old, who scored the victor successful past season's Champions League final, enactment it connected a sheet for Ziyech to expanse the shot home.
Timo Werner, who is apt to suffer his spot successful the starting XI erstwhile Lukaku arrives, volition anticipation his manager Thomas Tuchel volition announcement his captious adjacent station tally that opened up the abstraction for Ziyech to tally into and score.
Chelsea could person been 3-0 up successful the archetypal half, if it wasn't for immoderate large goalkeeping from Villarreal's Sergio Asenjo.
Just earlier half-time the lucifer started to turn. Chelsea's extremity scorer Ziyech was forced to permission the tract with a enarthrosis wounded and Villarreal pounced aft the 3 infinitesimal interruption successful play.
Former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno saw his 45th infinitesimal volley cannon disconnected the crossbar and bounce inches distant from the extremity line. Chelsea held connected to the 1-0 pb and got to half-time, but this was a informing motion that Villarreal would not dice wondering.
Five minutes aft the break, Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno saw his whipped changeable tipped connected to the station by Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy.
In the 65th minute, Tuchel made the somewhat unusual determination to bring disconnected 3 of his players astatine once, including skipper N'Golo Kante. The French planetary had entered the transportation carrying past season's Champions League trophy - a portion of silverware that is astir arsenic large arsenic helium is - and helium near the tract to a lasting ovation.
Chelsea fans appreciated his on-field show and they surely would person felt his lack erstwhile helium went off.
Jorginho, who precocious was pivotal successful Italy's EURO 2020 triumph, replaced Kante but is incapable to disrupt the absorption successful midfield similar the superb Frenchmen is. Villarreal took afloat advantage.
Unai Emery, who was often called a 'fraud' during his clip successful London with Arsenal, erstwhile again showed his tactical nous arsenic helium helped the Spanish broadside crook the crippled around. His broadside produced galore affirmative patterns of play, and successful the 73rd infinitesimal they recovered the breakthrough.
Gerard Moreno combined brilliantly with strike-partner Boulaye Dia earlier smashing the shot into the acold country to marque it 1-1.
Little by little, Villarreal had regained power against Chelsea and with the scores tied astatine the extremity of 90 minutes, the lucifer went to extra-time.
Both sides had chances to triumph it successful the remaining 30 minutes, but neither could capitalise. As the lucifer was destined for penalties it was the Villarreal fans who were up connected their feet, singing and waving their scarves supra their heads. Their fans were proud, that contempt the immense fiscal difference, their nine tin inactive vie done intelligent play and determination.
With 2 minutes to spell earlier the shoot-out, Tuchel made the bold determination to regenerate his starting goalkeeper Mendy for Spaniard Arrizabalaga. The gamble paid disconnected for Chelsea.
Arrizabalaga, who has been heavy criticised during his clip astatine Chelsea, proved to beryllium the club's hero. He saved doubly during the shootout. First from Aissa Mandi and past from Albiol successful abrupt death.
It means it's a 2nd European trophy for Tuchel, who has been successful complaint for little than a year. Chelsea volition look to physique connected that this play and unafraid a archetypal Premier League rubric since 2017.
The squad from London instrumentality location the silverware and time they'll adhd Lukaku, but for contiguous the squad from Villarreal tin beryllium arsenic arrogant of their efforts - wealth isn't the lone origin successful football.
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