Kepa Arrizabalaga: Ancelotti and Lunin Confirm Chelsea Star’s Role in Real Madrid’s PK Win

Kepa Arrizabalaga: Ancelotti and Lunin Confirm Chelsea Star’s Role in Real Madrid’s PK Win

Elijah Odetokun
April 18, 2024 at 7:07 AM
In this article:
Kepa Arrizabalaga logo
Chelsea logoGSpain logo
Andriy Lunin logo
A. Lunin
Real Madrid logoGUkraine logo
Real Madrid logo
Real Madrid
Manchester City logo
Manchester City
UEFA Champions League logo
Rodrygo Silva de Goes logo
Real Madrid logoFBrazil logo
Bernardo Silva logo
B. Silva
Manchester City logoMPortugal logo
Kevin De Bruyne logo
K. D. Bruyne
Manchester City logoMBelgium logo
Mateo Kovačić logo
M. Kovačić
Manchester City logoMCroatia logo
  • Real Madrid eliminated Manchester City after a 4-3 win on penalties
  • Andriy Lunin saved two penalties before Antonio Rudiger then won it
  • Kepa Arrizabalaga was pivotal in Madrid's penalty shootout success

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Kepa Arrizabalaga may have played zero minutes for Real Madrid in both legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final victory over Manchester City, but he played one crucial role.

Los Blancos proved their European pedigree over the Citizens by holding on for 120 minutes and pushing the second-leg game to penalties, which they won at the Etihad Stadium.

Eder Militao, Jude Bellingham, Andriy Lunin, Luka Modric, Federico Valverde, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Etihad Stadium, UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid players celebrate after beating Manchester City 4-3 on penalties on April 17, 2024. Photo by Pedro Castilla.
Source: Getty Images

The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium ended 3-3, and City were seen as the favourites in front of their home fans, but it ended otherwise against the European heavyweight.

Rodrygo put the Spanish team ahead in the first half before Kevin De Bruyne equalised in the second. Nothing could separate both sides and the tie was decided on penalties.

How Kepa masterminded Madrid's PK win

Chelsea goalkeeper, Kepa, lost his place to Andriy Lunin, but from the bench, he proved to be a valuable asset to Carlo Ancelotti's team with his experience.

Footage circulating on social media showed the world's most expensive goalie briefing the Ukrainian shot-stopper on City's penalty takers, and he was right about two.

The first was Lunin not moving for Bernardo Silva's disgraceful panenka attempt, and the second was by Kepa's former teammate in London, Mateo Kovacic.

"I needed to take a risk with one of the kicks, we picked one [to stay in the middle] and thank goodness it worked out in our favour," Lunin said via Reuters.

City beat Chelsea 4-3 on penalties in the 2019 Carabao Cup final, and Silva scored a panenka against Arrizabalaga, who gave a hint to his new teammate about the Portuguese's antics.

Madrid's assistant coach, Davide Ancelotti, confirmed after the game that the Premier League goalie did not only help Lunin; he selected the team's takers with only Luka Modric missing his spot kick.

Kepa will return to London in the summer with Los Blancos not making his loan permanent. He's unlikely to stay at Chelsea and is expected to start finding another club.

Kepa helped Chelsea beat West Ham

Sports Brief previously reported on Kepa helping Chelsea beat West Ham United despite being on the bench during their 2-1 win over the Hammers in the London derby in 2022.

In one of Thomas Tuchel's final games, the goalkeeper instructed Kai Havertz before he entered the pitch as a substitute and it paid off when the German scored the winner.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.