Manchester City won the Carabao Cup in a penalty shootout at Wembley in a match where there was so much drama between Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa and manager Sarri.
City won first of the four trophies that they are chasing in a stale final, which was goalless after extra time. But this final will be remembered for an almost unprecedented challenge to Sarri’s authority by his goalkeeper Kepa.
Chelsea’s club record signing, had been struggling with a cramp in the closing stages of extra time and Sarri decided to send on substitute Willy Caballero, who saved three penalties in a shootout to help Manchester City win this trophy against Liverpool in 2016.
The young Spaniard refused to come off and Sarri backed down in anger, before his misery was completed as City won the shootout with Raheem Sterling scoring the winning penalty.
Ilkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva scored from the spot for City and even though Kepa saved from Leroy Sane it was not enough to help Chelsea win the title.
Jorginho’s spot kick was saved by Ederson and David Luiz hit the post as Chelsea were sunk, despite Cesar Azplicueta, Emerson and Eden Hazard converting their kicks.
City retained the trophy but Arrizabalaga’s behavior towards manager Sarri will be remembered for time to come and the headlines of the incident will be running for weeks. The scenes inside Chelsea’s dressing room hardly bear thinking about after the chaos of those closing moments at Wembley.
Kepa’s point-blank refusal to be replaced by Caballero led to furious exchanges between Sarri and his technical staff, with the Italian looking at one stage as if he would storm away and leave his Chelsea players to it for the conclusion.
He eventually returned but blazing with fury. Antonio Rudiger then restrained Sarri as he appeared set on confronting Arrizabalaga after his one-man rebellion.
Of course, the goalkeeper was seriously at fault, showing his manager a complete lack of respect in ignoring his demands to substitute him with former city keeper Caballero. This however brings many questions into the authority that Sarri commands in the Chelsea dressing room after Kepa failed to respect the decision by the manager to go off the pitch.
To make matters worse, Chelsea were tactically very good more so in the second half of the game in sharp contrast to the 6-0 mauling at Manchester City on 10 February in the Premier League action.
Chelsea grew into the game and consider themselves unfortunate to lose in this manner – but the ramifications of those closing moments will reverberate around Stamford Bridge and could have very serious consequences for both Sarri and his goalkeeper.
City claimed the first of the four trophies on their agenda without being at their silky, creative best. Pep Guardiola’s side were stifled by Sarri’s astute game plan but stuck at it and did the job on penalties, the only way they could break Chelsea’s resistance.
City’s win did not come with only joy and happiness but with some bad news as key midfielder, Fernandinho limped off injured. This will be very crucial for them as they are headed for the congested turn of the season given that they’re still chasing 3 titles Champions League, English Premier League, and the FA Cup.
This final will not go down in history for the City win but rather the actions that took place on the side of Chelsea as manager and player were having a bit of a back and forth.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Associate at the Uganda Child Cancer Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!