Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was the penalty hero as Chelsea defeated Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semifinal clash after a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Kepa kept his composure to save two penalty kicks after Cesar Azpilicueta had missed a spot kick, and then Eden Hazard scored the winning shot that sent Chelsea to the final.
It isn’t the first time Kepa has been a penalty hero as he was also a penalty hero in the semifinal of the Carabao Cup between Chelsea and Tottenham, when he saved from Lucas Moura to send the Blues into the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
The 24-year-old Spaniard has now revealed that he’s working ahead just in case the Europa League final against Arsenal ends in a penalty shootout.
“Sometimes penalties go your way and sometimes they don’t, but this time, I was very happy to have been able to help the team,” Kepa told the official Chelsea website.
“I think that nowadays all goalkeepers do some analysis – a bit of research about possible penalty-takers and where they usually like to shoot,” Kepa further explained.
“We have plenty of data available and you always take a look at things that might give you the edge. In situations like that, where not a lot is within your control, it can help to guide your decisions. I was really pleased to have been able to do that for the team.”
Kepa has now endeared himself to the Chelsea fans and he praised the passionate Stamford Bridge crowd for making our home advantage count against Frankfurt.
“Our supporters were superb in driving us on to get to penalties and then to the final against very, very strong opposition,” he said.
“With a fantastic atmosphere and the fans right behind us, it was special.”
Ahead of May 29 final in Baku, Kepa said: “Both the fans and the players are relishing this match.
“It’s going to be another very difficult game, and a derby and a final, so anything could happen. We are going to train for every eventuality and we will go out there and fight for the title.”