Chelsea reach Europa League final after Kepa shines in shoot-out drama

LONDON: Kepa Arrizabalaga was Chelsea´s hero as the Spanish goalkeeper sent his side to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

Maurizio Sarri´s side will face London rivals Arsenal in an all-Premier League final in Baku on May 29 as for the first time all four finalists in the Champions and Europa League come from England.

Chelsea took the lead in the semi-final second leg thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek´s first half strike at Stamford Bridge.

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But Luka Jovic equalised soon after the interval as a tense clash finished 1-1 after extra time and 2-2 on aggregate.

Cesar Azpilicueta´s penalty was saved by Kevin Trapp in the shoot-out, but Kepa kept out Martin Hinteregger´s effort and then turned away Goncalo Paciencia before Eden Hazard slotted home the decisive kick to spark wild celebrations.

It was a sweet moment of redemption for Kepa after he was widely criticised for his astonishing mutiny in the League Cup final against Manchester City when he refused to be substituted before the Blues lost on penalties.

Hazard also relished his crucial contribution in what could be his last kick at the Bridge amid rumours of a close-season move to Real Madrid.

“I am only thinking to win something for this club,” said Hazard when asked if the final will be his last game for the club.

LONDON: Kepa Arrizabalaga was Chelsea´s hero as the Spanish goalkeeper sent his side to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

Maurizio Sarri´s side will face London rivals Arsenal in an all-Premier League final in Baku on May 29 as for the first time all four finalists in the Champions and Europa League come from England.

Chelsea took the lead in the semi-final second leg thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek´s first half strike at Stamford Bridge.

- Advertisement -

But Luka Jovic equalised soon after the interval as a tense clash finished 1-1 after extra time and 2-2 on aggregate.

Cesar Azpilicueta´s penalty was saved by Kevin Trapp in the shoot-out, but Kepa kept out Martin Hinteregger´s effort and then turned away Goncalo Paciencia before Eden Hazard slotted home the decisive kick to spark wild celebrations.

It was a sweet moment of redemption for Kepa after he was widely criticised for his astonishing mutiny in the League Cup final against Manchester City when he refused to be substituted before the Blues lost on penalties.

Hazard also relished his crucial contribution in what could be his last kick at the Bridge amid rumours of a close-season move to Real Madrid.

“I am only thinking to win something for this club,” said Hazard when asked if the final will be his last game for the club.

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