MAURIZIO SARRI and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga were caught in an astonishing on-field row that left the manager absolutely raging.
The Italian gaffer wanted to bring his No1 off the field after he went down with cramp just minutes before the shootout and ultimately Chelsea’s cup final defeat.
Kepa sensationally refused to come off the field ahead of the penalty shootout
Getty Images – Getty Kepa stood his ground and won the battle between player and manager
With penalty specialist Willy Caballero ready to come one and the board raised, Arrizabalaga sensationally refused to budge.
Sarri was growing incensed on the touchline and continued to demand that the £71.6million keeper should be subbed for the shootout.
Caballero was the hero three years ago when he saved three penalties as Man City lifted the League Cup.
Even assistant boss Gianfranco Zola did his best to convince Arrizabalaga to come off pitch.
But he continued to stand his ground and player power would prevail as a furious Sarri failed to contain his emotions on the touchline.
Maurizio Sarri was absolutely raging at his goalkeeper
News Group Newspapers Ltd Caballero was ready to come onto the field for the penalty shootout
News Group Newspapers Ltd The £71.6m keeper refuses to budge despite the manager’s pleas
Sarri launched an item to the ground and looked to be heading towards the Wembley exit before eventually coming back to the touchline.
It is a new embarrassment for the under pressure manager who will feel he has been undermined by his player.
Arrizabalaga remained in goal for the penalties and let Sergio Aguero’s spot-kick slip under his arm.
But he redeemed himself by saving Leroy Sane’s before David Luiz failed to take advantage.
Raheem Sterling scored the winning penalty as the Spanish keeper trudged his way off the field.
But the inquest will now begin over why the stopper refused to follow his manager’s instructions.
PA:Empics Sport Kepa stares back at the touchline after refusing to be subbed
Maurizio Sarri completely lost his cool over the incident
Kepa had a nightmare as he let Aguero’s penalty slip under his arm
Chelsea fans had little sympathy for their keeper with the majority claiming he was in the wrong.
One said: “Kepa should be dropped and fined. You can’t disrespect your manager in a game like this.”
Another added: “Kepa should never play for Chelsea again. If the players start refusing to be substituted, thereby humiliating the manager, they make the club look ridiculous too.
A Chelsea fan page commented: “One thing for sure if Kepa will pay for this.”
Kepa should never play for Chelsea again. If players start refusing to be substituted, thereby humiliating the manager, they make the club look ridiculous too. Also v unfair on replacement keeper who got changed ready to play. Unsporting, big-headed, selfish. #ByeKepa #CFCvMCFC— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) February 24, 2019