UEFA Super Cup Final: 7 things we learned from Liverpool's shoot-out win over Chelsea in Istanbul
The UEFA Super Cup Final in Istanbul went right to the wire, as Liverpool pipped Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 after extra time. Here are seven things we learned from tonight’s match in Turkey.
1. ADRIAN GETS REVENGE OVER ABRAHAM IN THE SHOOT-OUT
Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian was harshly penalized for a supposed foul on Tammy Abraham, with the Chelsea player going to ground despite minimal (if any) contact between the pair as the Blues scored a crucial equalizer from the spot.
But the Reds’ stand-in stopper – playing while first-choice keeper Alisson Becker recovers from an ankle injury sustained on the season’s opening day – got his revenge when a nervous-looking Abraham stepped up to take Chelsea’s crucial fifth penalty in the shoot-out.
Abraham’s spot-kick went straight down the middle, and Adrian saved with his trailing leg to win the shoot-out and secure victory for Liverpool.
2. THE ALL-FEMALE OFFICIATING TEAM HAD A BUSY NIGHT
For the first time ever in a major European game, the three on-pitch officials were all women. And the trio of French referee Stephanie Frappert and assistants Manuela Nicolosi of Italy and Michelle O’Neill from the Republic of Ireland had plenty to do on a busy night.
The officials chalked off two Chelsea goals – correctly – for offside, and kept control of the game well. But even though referee Frappert had a strong game in charge, her decision to award a penalty against Adrian for his challenge of Tammy Abraham was proved to be incorrect when viewed on instant replay.
It begged the question: Why didn’t VAR overturn the decision when she had clearly made a mistake?
3. N’GOLO KANTE WAS OUT TO IMPRESS
After a season largely spent out of favor under Maurizio Sarri, Kante has been given his place back in the heart of Chelsea’s midfield by new boss Frank Lampard. And the Frenchman put in an impressive display, including an outstanding first-half performance that saw him cover an incredible amount of ground in a tireless display.
He even managed to produce a cheeky ‘nutmeg’ on Liverpool’s James Milner, much to the amusement of Chelsea fans online.
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4. OLIVIER GIROUD PROVED HE’S A BIG-GAME PLAYER
Left out of Frank Lampard’s starting XI against Manchester United at the weekend, French striker Giroud showed his worth in a solid first-half showing that featured a lot of tireless running as he led the line well.
And he capped off a good opening 45 minutes for Chelsea with the first competitive goal of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea managerial reign as he slotted a superb Christian Pulisic pass, first-time, past Adrian to put the Blues ahead after 35 minutes.
5. ROBERTO FIRMINO MADE AN INSTANT IMPACT
Needing an injection of energy at the start of the second half, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp introduced front man Roberto Firmino, and the Brazilian striker made an immediate impact as he broke into the Chelsea penalty area and unselfishly laid the ball off for strike partner Sadio Mane to bundle home the crucial equalizer.
6. ‘KEPA THE KEEPER’ PRODUCED A STUNNING DOUBLE-SAVE
Chelsea’s young Spanish stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga had to be at his best to keep Liverpool at bay during the second half, and made a superb double-save to deny first Mo Salah, then Virgil van Dijk with back-to-back saves.
7. SADIO MANE MAKES SCORING GOALS LOOK EASY
His first may have been a bundled effort from short range, but his second, a brilliant first-time strike from 12 yards the flew in off the underside of the crossbar, showed that he’s a finisher who’s brimming with confidence.
The Senegalese striker finished joint top of the Premier League’s goalscoring charts last season and, after starting this year’s campaign on the bench, appears to be starting the new season in fine form.