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Kepa Arrizabalaga

Sarri loses the plot after Kepa refuses to be subbed off in League Cup final

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was left fuming over the bizarre situation in which Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted in extra-time of the League Cup final.

Manchester City won the League Cup on Sunday evening by beating Chelsea 4-3 on penalties following a goalless draw after extra time in Wembley, but the spectacle was almost overshadowed by a row between the Blues touchline staff and their goalkeeper.

Kepa Arrizabalaga appeared to be struggling with cramp in extra-time, and sub goalie Willy Caballero was being prepared to be brought in his place.

However, the Spaniard refused to be taken off as the game drew closer to full-time, sending Maurizio Sarri and his assistant Gianfranco Zola into a flying rage.

After a relatively lengthy deliberation between the Chelsea staff, the player and the officials, Kepa stayed on the pitch for the final minutes of the game and the penalty shootout, while Sarri continued to remonstrate angrily and even considered heading down the tunnel while the game was still being played.

Sarri had to be calmed down after the final whistle by centre-back Antonio Rudiger, who held the manager back from going face-to-face his goalkeeper.

Kepa would end up saving one of Man City’s five penalties, keeping Leroy Sane from scoring, but it was not enough to win the shootout for the London outfit, who were ultimately beaten by a Raheem Sterling finish.

In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Sarri called it a “big misunderstanding”, while captain Cesar Azpilicueta incredulously claimed he didn’t see what happened because he was “on the other side of the pitch”.

Twitter was in predictably fine form in the aftermath of the entire saga.

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