Chelsea have emerged as the winners of the 2021 Super Cup after beating Villarreal 6-5 on penalties.
Extra-time was required to decide the first European trophy of the season after Villarreal pegged back Chelsea as the UEFA Super Cup final finished 1-1 after 90 minutes on Wednesday.
A dominant start by the European champions was rewarded in Belfast as Hakim Ziyech fired Chelsea into a 27th minute lead, but Gerard Moreno’s equaliser was no more than Villarreal’s improved second-half display deserved.
Thomas Tuchel’s stunning impact since taking charge of the Blues in January has raised expectations for Chelsea to challenge in all competitions this season, particularly with Romelu Lukaku on the verge of returning to Stamford Bridge for a club record fee of £97 million ($135 million).
Tuchel’s men beat Manchester City to lift the Champions League in May, just five months after he replaced the sacked Frank Lampard with Chelsea languishing in ninth in the Premier League.
Victory in Porto was Chelsea’s third over City in six weeks towards the end of the season. Now they have the longer term goal of dethroning Pep Guardiola’s side as English champions.
While Chelsea have become accustomed to lifting trophies on an annual basis in nearly two decades since Abramovich took charge, Villarreal failed to back up their first-ever piece of silverware when they beat Manchester United on penalties in Gdansk.
Unai Emery has now won the Europa League four times, but never won the Super Cup after his three previous successes with Sevilla.