Ruben Loftus-Cheek believes Kepa Arrizabalaga completed his redemption from villain to hero to spur Chelsea to the Europa League final. Spanish stopper Kepa incurred widespread wrath for refusing to be substituted before Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final 4-3 on penalties to Manchester City on February 24.
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But the 24-year-old pulled off two fine saves as Chelsea edged out Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 in a shoot-out during Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg. Now Chelsea will face Arsenal in the May 29 showdown in Baku, with Loftus-Cheek hailing Kepa for coming full circle from his Wembley low point.
Asked if Kepa’s penalty heroics washed away lingering concerns, Loftus-Cheek said: “Yes absolutely, I ran straight towards him at the end of the shoot-out. “We obviously went down and he’s pulled off two fantastic saves, one between his legs that he’s just squeezed out. It’s fantastic for him. “I was so nervous on the sideline. But it just felt amazing when Eden (Hazard) put that last penalty away, knowing we’re going to Baku for the final.”