It wasn't easy, says Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea boss insists Blues battled fatigue and panic to down Frankfurt 4-3 via penalty shootout and book Europa final against London rivals Arsenal
Maurizio Sarri admitted Chelsea rode their luck to reach the Europa League final as Kepa Arrizabalaga's penalty heroics clinched a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
All-English final in Baku
Sarri's side will face London rivals Arsenal in an all-EPL final in Baku on May 29 as for the first time all four finalists in the Champions and Europa League come from England. Chelsea took the lead in the semi-final second leg thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first half strike at Stamford Bridge.
But Luka Jovic equalised soon after the interval as the clash finished 1-1 after extra time and 2-2 on aggregate. Cesar Azpilicueta's penalty was saved by Kevin Trapp in the shoot-out, but Kepa kept out Martin Hinteregger's effort and then turned away Goncalo Paciencia before Eden Hazard slotted home the decisive kick to spark wild celebrations.
A relieved Sarri conceded Chelsea found it hard to control the game and needed some good fortune to avoid a shock exit. We played a very good first half. Then in the first part of the second half, we were in trouble. We were passive in the defensive phase, so we conceded the goal, 10 minutes of panic," he said.
"In extra-time we were tired. After 60 matches to play 120 minutes it's difficult. There is no preparation for penalties because you can kick well in the training, but then the pressure is different," he added.
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