Liverpool held its nerve to win the European Super Cup after defeating Chelsea on penalties in Istanbul.
After an enthralling contest had finished level at 2-2 after extra-time, it was Liverpool which prevailed 5-4 on spot kicks with goalkeeper Adrian saving from Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham to spark celebrations from those in red.
This particular European Super Cup final, the annual contest between the winner of the European Champions League and the Europa League victor, made history before a ball had even been kicked.
The first final involving two English clubs, it also provided the platform for Stephanie Frappart to become the first female referee to take charge of a major men’s European contest.
Frappart, who took charge of last month’s Women’s World Cup final, was joined by assistant referees Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill in officiating an entertaining contest in which both team’s could conceivably have won before the contest moved to penalties.
Liverpool, last year’s Champions League winners, had trailed at halftime as Chelsea deservedly took the lead through Olivier Giroud.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side improved after the interval with Sadio Mane leveling from close range.
With neither team able to find a winner inside 90 minutes, the contest moved into extra-time where Liverpool struck first.
Once again it was Mane who made the breakthrough, this time firing home a spectacular effort with his right foot after neat play by Roberto Firmino.
But Chelsea, winners of the last season’s Europa League, refused to buckle, and drew level when Jorginho fired home from the penalty spot after Adrian was adjudged to have fouled Abraham inside the area.
With the scores level, the game went to penalties and with Liverpool having scored all five, Abraham stepped up needing to score only for his kick to strike the legs of Adrian and ensure heartbreak for Chelsea.
More to follow.