Ex-Chelsea coach Zola says Kepa faked injury to waste time in stunning sub snub against Man City

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GIANFRANCO ZOLA has finally lifted the lid on what exactly happened when Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come off against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

The ex-Chelsea coach has claimed that the Spanish goalkeeper faked an injury to wind the clock down in extra-time, before defying Maurizio Sarri’s orders.

Former Chelsea coach has revealed that Kepa refusing to come off left him “speechless”

Kepa, 24, sent his manager storming down the tunnel in a fit of rage after refusing to be substituted for Willy Caballero in what will be regarded as one of the most shocking moments in League Cup history.

John Terry was heavily critical of the shot-stopper over his actions, with the player forced to issue a statement where he admitted he was in the wrong.

Chelsea fans demanded Kepa to be sold following the incident, with the keeper subsequently fined £190,000 by the West London side.

Zola has revealed that the Blues wanted the former Athletic Bilbao ace to come off for Caballero for the impending penalty shootout, as the Argentinian was familiar with his old City team-mates.

Speaking to beIN Sports, Zola said: “In the beginning he misunderstood. He was pretending he was injured because he wanted to waste time.

“There was nothing really wrong but we then made some considerations. We knew we had Willy Caballero on the bench, who knew all of the Manchester City players and so it was an opportunity for us.”

Before adding: We were going to make the change. It wasn’t pre-arranged, but we saw the day before he was injured.

“So we thought it was the injury coming back and we saw an opportunity because Caballero knows the Manchester City players so he can also be a good thing; simple as that.


“It was obviously not an easy situation to deal with. We could not believe it, we were speechless, we kept telling him to come off but he didn’t come.

“I mean, we could have dealt with it better probably, maybe the skipper could have gone to him and say ‘come to the touchline’ but in the end sometimes you have a situation like this.”

Kepa was involved in another penalty shootout defeat for Chelsea on Wednesday night, but he failed to make a save as Liverpool won 5-4 on spot-kicks to win the Super Cup.

Blues goalkeeper Kepa was heavily criticised for refusing to come off against Manchester City
PA:Empics Sport

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