The Gunners striker reflected on the Europa League defeat to…
Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday after a richly entertaining match in Istanbul finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.
Every penalty in the shoot-out had found the net before Tammy Abraham’s effort was saved by Spanish goalkeeper Adrian, allowing the European champions to win the trophy for the fourth time in their history.
The Reds came from behind, only to then spurn the lead themselves in extra time, and eventually needed spot kicks to prevail. Goalkeeper Adrián, playing due to an Alisson Becker injury, was the unlikely hero. A player more accustomed to this stage, and a scorer of two previous Super Cup goals for Barcelona, Pedro Rodríguez nearly had a third on his list midway through the first half, his powerful shot from a narrow angle crashing against the crossbar.
FINAL AS IT HAPPENED
Frank Lampard’s side did go in front from a similar, if less acute, position on 36 minutes, Olivier Giroud meeting Christian Pulišić’s through ball with a first-time finish into the bottom corner. The France striker had also opened the scoring in Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League final victory over Arsenal in May.
Sadio Mané, on target in last year’s UEFA Champions League final loss to Real Madrid, added a Super Cup goal to his CV three minutes after the break, poking over the line after half-time substitute Roberto Firmino had reacted quickest to Fabinho’s pass.
If Kepa Arrizabalaga’s stunning double save from Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk then helped take the game to extra time, it was not long into the additional 30 minutes – and just seconds into Thursday local time in Istanbul – that Mané and Firmino combined again to lethal effect. This time it was a Firmino cutback and a thumping first-time Mané finish into the roof of the net.
Less emphatic, but no less effective, was Jorginho’s spot kick six minutes later. That penalty was awarded after Adrián was adjudged to have felled Tammy Abraham, who was later denied by the Liverpool keeper in the shoot-out to hand the trophy to Jürgen Klopp’s charges.
Man of the Match: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Two goals for Liverpool’s jet-heeled forward, who already looks to have carried his fine form of last season into this campaign. If the first was evidence of his predatory prowess, the second showed he also has a stunner in his armoury.