Kepa Arrizabalaga makes amends for Wembley mutiny meltdown in Fulham clash

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Chelsea's Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage. (AFP)
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Chelsea's Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga makes a late save during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage. (AFP)
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Chelsea's Willian in action with Fulham's Joe Bryan (Action Images via Reuters)
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Chelsea's Gonzalo Higuain, left, challenges for the ball with Fulham's Joe Bryan during the match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage stadium in London, England, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (AP) Photo/Tim Ireland)
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Chelsea - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - March 3, 2019 Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic in action with Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
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Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian (L) vies with Fulham's English defender Joe Bryan (R) during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage in London on March 3, 2019. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images m
Updated 03 March 2019

Kepa Arrizabalaga makes amends for Wembley mutiny meltdown in Fulham clash

LONDON: Jorginho fired Chelsea to a 2-1 win at struggling Fulham on Sunday as Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga seemed to be on the road to redemption after his Wembley mutiny with a highly impressive, match-saving display.
Maurizio Sarri’s side took the lead through Gonzalo Higuain before Calum Chambers equalized at Craven Cottage.
In an incident-packed first half, the much-maligned Jorginho restored Chelsea’s lead with his first goal since the opening weekend of the season.
Chelsea were also indebted to Kepa for a series of superb saves that preserved their lead after the break, lifting the sixth-placed Blues within two points of fourth placed Manchester United.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri had dropped Kepa for Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham on Wednesday as punishment for the Spaniard’s refusal to be substituted during last weekend’s League Cup final defeat against Manchester City.
But Sarri had insisted Kepa remained his “first choice” and the world’s most expensive keeper returned in place of Willy Caballero after his one-game demotion.
“Kepa is a man,” Sarri said. “He understood the mistake he made, so he was able to react very well. It is very important for our group and our dressing room.
The Chelsea boss, while pleased with the three points, felt his team could have been more ruthless in front of goal to kill the game off, especially as Fulham had the ball in the net at the death but were foiled by an assistant’s flag for offside.
“We played very well only for 60 minutes, we could have killed the match.
“We were not able to so in the last 20 or 25 minutes and we were in trouble because we were very tired mentally and physically after 120 minutes against Manchester City and a strong match against Tottenham.
“But I am really very happy with the performance for 60 minutes and the result.”
The performance of on-loan striker Higuain will also have lifted the spirits of the Chelsea manager. It was Higuain’s third goal in eight games since the Argentine joined from Juventus in January.
“Higuain played a very good match. I think at the moment he is not at his best, but he is improving. I hope in a couple of weeks he will be able to arrive at his best,” Sarri said.
Blues captain Cezar Azplicueta admitted Chelsea knew they had been in a game and that it was a tough encounter.
“It was a tough game. In the first half we played very well and created a lot of chances to go in more comfortably at half-time.
“We didn’t score and we know Fulham are fighting relegation, every point matters — they pushed hard and sometimes you have to dig in.
“We know that we are entering into the last stage of the season where we have to take everything we can. We have a lot of targets to get. Hopefully we can get what we want”
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker was under no illusions the task that faces his side between now and the end of the season. 
“It was a rollcoaster for me on the sidelines. In the first half we felt stung against a very good side, we didn’t put our stamp on the game in possession. 
That was a big focus for us. In the second half we did do that. The most important thing was we showed character.
“We showed character with the ball, not just running hard, which is standard. Our center-halves got the ball and played, this is the way Fulham play and the way I want my team to play.
“I am thinking long term in the best interests of Fulham Football Club. I will treat this as long term because I want to help this club.”


Juventus beat Napoli to win Italian Super Cup

Updated 21 January 2021

Juventus beat Napoli to win Italian Super Cup

REGGIO EMILIA, Italy: Andrea Pirlo won his first trophy as a coach on Wednesday as Juventus beat Napoli 2-0 in the Italian Super Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo blasted in his 20th goal of the season following a corner on 64 minutes in Reggio Emilia, before Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne missed a penalty and Alvaro Morata added a second deep into injury time.
Pirlo, 41, clinched his first silverware five months after taking over at his former club where he won four league titles.
“Winning a first title (as a coach) is a great joy, different from that felt as a player, it’s even more beautiful,” said Pirlo, who lifted the trophy three times as a player with Juventus and AC Milan.
Juventus won the annual trophy, played between the league champions and Italian Cup holders, for the ninth time, having finished runners-up last year to Lazio.
“This trophy is very important because it can give us confidence for the rest of our season,” said Ronaldo.

Juventus' forward Cristiano Ronaldo (3rdR) shoots to score past Napoli's goalkeeper David Ospina (front) during the Supercoppa Italiana football match between Juventus and Napoli on Jan. 20, 2021 in Reggio Emilia. AFP / Miguel MEDINA 

Juventus sit fifth in the league, 10 points behind leaders AC Milan, after losing 2-0 to second-placed Inter Milan last weekend.
“The Scudetto is possible, Milan and Inter are very strong, but there are still a lot of games to be played and we can still do it,” added Ronaldo.
It was the first meeting between Pirlo and Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, who won the 2006 World Cup together and spent a decade as AC Milan teammates, winning two Serie A titles and two Champions League crowns together.
They have not faced off this season after Napoli refused to travel to Turin for their October league match because of coronavirus cases — a fixture which has still to be played.
“I’m sorry for Gennaro Gattuso, but we wanted to react after the defeat against Inter Milan,” said Pirlo.
“We bet a lot on the pride of the players, we wanted to show that we were a team.”
Juventus received a boost hours before kick-off with Juan Cuadrado recovering from coronavirus and starting for the first time in two weeks.
Napoli had the best chance of the first half in the Mapei Stadium, with Juve keeper Wojciech Szczsesny demonstrating quick reflexes to save Hirving Lozano’s diving header just before the half-hour mark.
Federico Bernardeschi came off the bench after the break in place of Federico Chiesa and immediately had an impact.
Juventus piled on the pressure after an hour when Ronaldo was sent through on goal and defender Kostas Manolas almost deflected the ball into his own net.
But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner made the most of the resulting corner, with the ball bouncing off Tiemoue Bakayoko and into the path of the unmarked Portuguese forward to fire in his 20th goal of the season.
Napoli had a chance to equalize from the spot after Weston McKennie fouled Dries Mertens, but Insigne wasted the opportunity by dragging a woeful effort wide.
Szczsesny pulled off another late save before a last-gasp Morata goal sealed victory.
“We all lost together, not because of Lorenzo’s penalty. Let’s move on,” said Gattuso, 43, whose side beat Juventus in last season’s Italian Cup.
“In the first half there was a bit of fear. I don’t remember Juve’s serious chances today.
“We could have done better, but the match is very similar to the one seven months ago. In fact, we suffered more seven months ago than today.”