Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga misses decisive penalty as Liverpool win Carabao Cup

  • Rob Swan

Liverpool were crowned winners of the 2021-22 Carabao Cup after beating Chelsea on penalties at Wembley.

The two sides played out a pulsating goalless draw over the course of 90 minutes before the game went to extra-time.

With the scores still level after 120 minutes, the final was eventually decided on penalties – and it was Liverpool who prevailed when Kepa Arrizabalaga, brought on for the shoot-out, missed.

What happened in Carabao Cup final penalty shoot-out?

Thomas Tuchel sprang a major surprise in extra-time by subbing on Kepa in place of Edouard Mendy, who was arguably the game’s standout player, specifically for the shoot-out.

But the Spaniard, who famously refused to come off during the 2019 Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, was unable to save any of Liverpool’s 10 penalties.

After 20 successfully converted penalties, it was time for the goalkeepers to take.

Caoimhin Kelleher scored, but Kepa dramatically missed, which meant Liverpool lifted the trophy.

Carabao Cup final was a classic 0-0

This was a cup final that will live long in the memory for being full of drama despite a goalless 120 minutes.

The first half ended all square but both sides missed great opportunities to break the deadlock.

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic spurned the game’s first big opportunity in the sixth minute when his close-range shot was saved by Kelleher.

Mason Mount, meanwhile, missed the target from a similar distance at the end of the first half.

However, it was Sadio Mane who wasted the biggest opportunity to score during the opening 45 minutes thanks to some sensational goalkeeping by his compatriot, Mendy, after half-hour.

The Senegalese goalkeeper, who was selected ahead of Kepa for Sunday’s final by Tuchel, saved Naby Keita’s long-range strike before recovering to somehow deny Mane.

It was a magnificent piece of goalkeeping and one of the finest double saves that we’re likely to see in any cup final.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Sadio Mane of Liverpool reacts after a chance was saved by Edouard Mendy of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Mount then missed another gilt-edged opportunity early in the second half after finding himself one-on-one with Kelleher.

The England international had the whole goal to aim at and managed to wrong-foot Kelleher but saw the ball come back off the post. Tuchel pounded the turf in frustration as another glorious chance went begging.

Mendy almost went from hero to villain just after the hour-mark when his poor clearance let in Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool’s world-class Egyptian forward chipped the ball towards goal but Thiago Silva, who has been so impressive for Chelsea of late, got back in time to clear off the line.

Joel Matip and Kai Havertz both had goals disallowed

Shortly afterwards came one of the biggest talking points of the afternoon: Joel Matip’s disallowed goal.

Virgil van Dijk was offside in the build-up to the goal, which was ruled out following a VAR review.

Chelsea had a goal of their own disallowed when Kai Havertz had the ball in the net with 10 minutes left on the clock.

How the game was still 0-0 by this point was nothing short of a mystery, but it was a hugely entertaining stalemate despite the lack of goals.

The brilliant Mendy then denied Van Dijk with another classy save, while Kelleher saved from substitute Romelu Lukaku, before referee Stuart Attwell blew his whistle to signal the end of an exhilarating 90 minutes.

Romelu Lukaku and Havertz had disallowed goal in extra-time

The drama continued in extra-time. Lukaku thought he’d put Chelsea ahead but was judged to have been offside by VAR. The Belgian striker was offside by the thinnest of margins.

Havertz then had another goal disallowed for offside in the second half of extra-time.

Carabao Cup final was decided on penalties

And so this entertaining and dramatic final was eventually decided on penalties.

And it was Liverpool who ultimately prevailed after Kepa’s miss.

Chelsea vs Liverpool – Reaction (Football Terrace)

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