Chelsea will have Kepa Arrizabalaga to thank for his heroic performance in between the sticks as he came on late in extra-time to lead the Blues to a shootout victory over Villarreal in Belfast.
With the scores level at 120 minutes following goals from Hakim Ziyech and Gerard Moreno in normal time, Kepa replaced Edouard Mendy in the final moments of extra-time specifically for the shootout – and it proved the right decision from Thomas Tuchel.
Ziyech had put Chelsea ahead in the 27th minutes on Wednesday night, but was forced out in the first-half with a suspected dislocated shoulder .
While Chelsea are set to welcome £97.5million Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, the likely absence of Ziyech will be a blow with a number of key players yet to get up to full fitness before the Blues face Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Gerard Moreno equalised 73 minutes in as Villarreal rallied after the break to send the game to extra-time, but Chelsea won the shootout to lift the trophy.
Still, it was a good night’s work for Chelsea in Belfast as Tuchel added another trophy to the Champions League triumph last season, with Unai Emery’s Europa League holders proving tough opposition.