Chelsea’s Nigerian-born duo of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori on Wednesday equaled a miss by The Blues’ former midfielder, John Mikel Obi, as both players got to play in the UEFA Super Cup for the first time, only to end up losing, just as the ex-Super Eagles’ captain did in 2012 and 2013, against Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively, megasportsarena.com reports
While another Nigerian star in Chelsea’s history, Celestine Babayaro was part of the London club’s 1998 victory over Real Madrid of Spain, Mikel could not repeat the feat on two occasions, only for Tammy’s miss from the penalty spot in a shoot-out 4-5 loss to Liverpool, following a 2-2 end after extra time, meant he and Tomori repeated the former Eagles’ star’s inability to win the prestigious European season-starting trophy.
While Tammy turned out to be the villain for Chelsea, Liverpool’s stand-in goalkeeper, Adrian proved the hero as his penalty save earned Liverpool a 5-4 shootout win after a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup.
The goalkeeper- who joined Liverpool on a free transfer last week and may not have played but for Alisson Becker’s injury – kept out Tammy Abraham’s penalty to give Liverpool their first silverware of the season at approaching 1am local time in Istanbul, at the end of an entertaining encounter in the first all-English Super Cup.
Chelsea had earlier taken a deserved lead through Olivier Giroud’s smart finish (36) but the half-time introduction of Roberto Firmino swung the balance, and within 90 seconds he had set up Sadio Mane to level (47).
While the rest of normal time could not produce another goal, Liverpool went ahead five minutes into extra-time as a Mane rocket beat Kepa Arrizabalaga, but a soft penalty given when Adrian brushed Abraham inside the box allowed Jorginho to level from the spot (101).
Abraham was the only one of ten penalty takers to miss in the shootout and he lay on the pitch devastated at the end of the match, but Chelsea coach, Frank Lampard has consoled the striker and stressed that even top players fail to convert penalties.
Lampard philosophized: ”It’s part and parcel of being a player at the top level, which is what Tammy now is. I told him not to worry. The fact that he’s confident and wants to step up to take the fifth penalty is pleasing.
”I’ve been there myself, anyone can miss a penalty, but what I want is the confidence of a young player to turn up and do that. These moments come and we have to be supportive of him because that’s football.”