August 15 – Liverpool won the European Super Cup on penalties against Chelsea in Istanbul on what was a historic night for women’s refereeing. The reigning European champions prevailed 5-4 from the penalty spot after an extra-time 2-2 draw.
Before a ball was even kicked in Istanbul’s Vodafone Park, history had been made with the appointment of Stephanie Frappart as the first female referee to lead a major European men’s contest. Frappart was joined by assistant referees Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill in officiating the first all-English European Super Cup after Premier League clubs had dominated the latter stages of European club competitions last season.
Frappart had previously led the Women’s World Cup final between the US and the Netherlands in July and prior to that her experience of the higher levels of the men’s game had been one match in France’s Ligue 1. The French referee dealt with VAR reviews, a penalty decision and some back chat from players, but controlled the match throughout the 120 minutes.
Winning coach Jurgen Klopp had nothing but praise for Frappart and her team after the match. “I told the ref team after the game that if we would have played like they whistled, we would have won 6-0. That was my absolute opinion,” said the German coach. “They played a brilliant game. I told her as well that I am not happy with the penalty decision because I’m still not sure that it was a penalty, but it’s not important anymore. They were really good. Whatever you could have thought before the game, there was pressure on them like hell with an historic moment.”
In the first half Klopp’s team were lethargic, not unlike in the Community Shield where they lost on penalties to Manchester City, but Liverpool came good after the break with the introduction of Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino, who proved to be a scourge for the Chelsea defense.
In the 36th minute veteran French striker Oliver Giroud opened the scoring from a Christian Pulisic assist. The young American player was among the brighter players in the London outfit alongside the returning N’golo Kante. In a 4-3-3 formation Chelsea demonstrated more solidity than in last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United when they were time and again exposed on the break.
Sadio Mane equalised in the 49th minute in a slow-burning game that turned frantic at times in extra time when the Senegalese striker gave Liverpool the lead with a neatly side-footed strike into the top corner. Chelsea were resilient and came back through Jorginho and his penalty conversion in the 100th.
In the penalty shout out Adrian, substitute for the injured Alisson, turned Liverpool hero as his trailing leg prevented young Tammy Abraham from scoring and gave Liverpool a 5-4 win.
“I’ve got nothing but pride in the team and the performance, and confidence in what that means,” said Chelsea coach Lampard. “After Sunday, tonight was another level, and we were unlucky not to win. We’ve got three games now till the international break and we’ll try to win them all,” he said.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1569036241labto1569036241ofdlr1569036241owedi1569036241sni@o1569036241fni1569036241