Gianfranco Zola made sure Chelsea fans could watch penalty shoot-out v Tottenham

  • Rob Swan

Chelsea will take on Manchester City in next month’s Carabao Cup final after edging their way past Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Maurizio Sarri’s men were 1-0 down from the first leg but N’Golo Kante levelled things up on aggregate in the 27th minute with a shot from the edge of the box.

Eden Hazard then made it 2-0 before half-time, although Fernando Llorente’s strike for the visitors five minutes after the break eventually forced a penalty shoot-out.

And it was the Blues who prevailed, with Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and David Luiz all successfully converting from 12 yards.

Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela both scored for Spurs, but Eric Dier blazed his spot-kick over the bar and Lucas Moura saw his effort saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

There were jubilant scenes from the Chelsea players, staff and fans at the full-time whistle.

Reaching the Carabao Cup final clearly meant an awful lot to them, although beating rivals Spurs to book their place in the last two will, of course, have tasted particularly sweet.

However, some of the Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge almost didn’t get to watch the penalty shoot-out.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup: Semi-Final Second Leg

Without the intervention of Gianfranco Zola, one of Chelsea’s all-time heroes and Sarri’s assistant coach, they would have been left staring at a line of grey jackets instead.

The Daily Telegraph’s Matt Law spotted Zola asking all the Chelsea players watching the shoot-out on the touchline to crouch down so the crowd in the first couple of rows behind them could actually see the penalties.

A video proving this happened - courtesy of @SupremeLeaderYa on Twitter - has now emerged and it sums up the loveable Italian maestro.

Watch it here…

What a gent Zola is.

The players were a little slow in responding to the 52-year-old’s request, but they eventually knelt down.

The fans whose view was temporarily obstructed were all extremely grateful to Zola for listening to them.


Zola was one of the most universally-popular footballers during his illustrious playing career, and that hasn’t changed since he hung up his boots 14 years ago.

The retired forward is still a class act and a true hero to every Chelsea supporter.

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