Fans have flooded to Twitter this evening to provide their respective takes on the bizarre ending to extra-time between Chelsea and Manchester City, which saw Maurizio Sarri’s attempts to substitute goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga ignored.
Chelsea vs Man City
The two sides went head to head at Wembley a short time ago, in the final of the EFL Cup.
City headed into proceedings as clear favourites, with the Premier League champions having racked up 13 wins from their last 14 outings across all competitions, and having put Chelsea to the sword by 6 goals to nil in the Premier League just two weeks ago.
Chelsea’s biggest EVER Premier League defeat. 😳
Doesn’t look good on Sarri… https://t.co/16yXYHYjhC
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 10, 2019
Chelsea, meanwhile, had fallen to defeats in 3 of their last 6 across all competitions.
City emerge victorious
As such, the hard-fought, largely-even affair that subsequently unfolded over the 120 minutes in the English capital came as a surprise to many.
Chelsea more than held their own against the might of City, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante having all impressed.
The sides could not be separated over the course of 90 normal-time minutes or 30 more in extra-time, though, leading to a penalty shootout which was eventually won 4-3 by City.
Kepa vs Sarri
However, the Citizens’ spot-kick victory was only half the story, with an incident between Maurizio Sarri and Kepa Arrizabalaga having since grabbed the majority of the headlines.
The moment came deep into extra-time, after Kepa went to ground for the second time, appearing to have picked up an injury.
This led Maurizio Sarri to call on Chelsea back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero, a penalty-saving specialist, to replace Kepa, ahead of the imminent shootout.
Incredibly, though, Kepa refused to come off, eventually leading to Sarri completely (and understandably) losing his cool on the sideline.
😳 – Have you EVER seen anything like it!?
Maurizio Sarri tries to substitute Kepa Arrizabalaga for Willy Caballero, but Kepa refuses to come off and Sarri is absolutely FURIOUS! 😡 pic.twitter.com/Q81v6ry3Kk
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 24, 2019
The shootout subsequently saw Kepa save one penalty, but also fail to keep out a very-savable Sergio Aguero effort.
‘Embarrassed himself , his manager and his club’
As such, there has since been widespread discussion online regarding the incident, with the vast majority having sided with Sarri, and torn into Kepa for his complete lack of respect for his manager:
Karma is real. Kepa with the most disgraceful disrespect I have ever seen towards a club and their manager. He just dragged the Chelsea name through the dirt. Ridiculous. Feel bad for Sarri and Chelsea fans. That was insane man. GG to city for ensuring Karma was dished out.
— Nick (@Nick28T) February 24, 2019
I imagine Sarri walks but he doesn’t deserve that. Horrible from Kepa. Shouldn’t play again this season.
— JB™️ (@gunnerpunner) February 24, 2019
Genuinely feel sorry for Sarri. Absolutely disgraceful from Kepa. Especially during a final. Just mental.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) February 24, 2019
If I were Sarri, I’d have serious misgivings about ever allowing Kepa to play for me again. Player power gone mental, that.
— Kris Voakes (@krisvoakes) February 24, 2019
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) February 24, 2019
Amateurish from Kepa. Has embarrassed himself , his manager and his club. Very unfair on Sarri in his predicament.
— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) February 24, 2019
That is madness. How is Kepa still on the pitch? The young keeper also seemed to wink at the camera as well when the whistle blew.
— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) February 24, 2019
People are diving too deep into the whole situation and talking absolute bullshit. It’s clearly Kepa’s fault and no one else’s. Period.
— CFC (@CFCWriter) February 24, 2019
Chris Sutton on Kepa Arrizabalaga: “If I was Sarri I would walk. You cannot be undermined. Why weren’t the players dragging Kepa off anyway? Kepa should be sacked, not Sarri.” pic.twitter.com/9K2eUkT5lA
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 24, 2019