Premier League defending Champions Manchester City had to consult the penalty shoot-out to lift this year’s Carabao Cup after a goalless regular time.
Not even an added thirty minutes of extra time could allow Sergio Aguero to kill the game at Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea had walked into this match with an embarrassing burden of drinking 6-0 during the team’s meeting at Ethad Stadium a fortnight ago as well as a 2-0 defeat to City’s neighbours Manchester United that knocked them out of the prestigious FA Cup competition at Stamford Bridge.
In what was to be the first League Cup meeting between the two ‘Blues’ since 1993-94 season when Brian Horton’s side beat Chelsea 1-0 at Maine Road with a goal from David White, Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri made six changes to the team that beat Malmo FC 3-0 on Thursday night in the Europa League.
But even as he effected the changes, Chelsea failed to record a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes as the first half ended in an idle scoreboard in a match that Chelsea’s sensational attacker Hudson-Udoi was cheered across the stadium every time he touched the ball.
However, there was drama at Wembley with three minutes of the second half of the extra-time when a seemingly injured Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted by Chelsea coach.
City had broken upfront on a counter attack with Aguero, who scored a hatrick in the 6-0 thriller, shot from close range forcing Chelsea’s number one keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to dive lowly and attracting a cramp on his feet. But even as Chelsea physios were working on Kepa, Sarri was already making arrangements to bring on former City goal keeper Willy Cabalerro to avoid any risk for the Spaniard, a move Kepa protested vigorously and throwing hands at an insisting Sarri.
In what proved to be ‘player power’ that has rocked the Chelsea dressing room for the last three seasons which have seen the exit of both Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, the sturbbon Kepa won the battle as Sarri smoked his anger exiting the stadium before coming back after several seconds.
While his City counterpart Pep Guardiola was busy motivating his players to win the penalties, the Italian – better known for his smoking habit – refused to speak to the Chelsea players.
Jorginho and the 2012 Champions League winner David Luiz both missed the penalties as Kepa joked with Aguero’s filthy penalty kick that snailed towards the Spaniard’s dive.
However, Kepa’s brilliant save of Leroy Sane’s penalty was not enough from allowing Sarri to lift his first ever major trophy during his coaching period as serial penalty saver Willy Caballero watched on in disbelieve.
The results leaves Chelsea vulnerable again with a trip to Totteham Hotspurs already looming on Wednesday night.
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