How Cesar Azpilicueta pulled off a masterstroke against Palmeiras

After 120 minutes of intense football, Chelsea lifted the FIFA Club World Cup by defeating Palmeiras 2-1.

The two sides looked pretty even throughout the game and in the end, a penalty decided the winner. 

Awarded for a handball by Palmeiras defender Luan, the 117th-minute spot-kick sure had a lot riding on it. 

The designated taker was Champions League hero Kai Havertz, but he has Cesar Azpilicueta to thank for relaxing some of the pressure on his shoulders. 

Club captain Azpilicueta had already stated his intentions to bring home the only missing trophy from the Blues’ cabinet before the tournament began. 

And aside from a solid performance, he helped in scoring the winner indirectly by displaying a true skipper’s mentality. 

It’s common to see opposition players crowd penalty takers and play mind games, and these very often work. 

The Spanish international was well aware of this and he decided to step up to the spot himself to soak in all the pressure. 

Palmeiras player’s attempts at haggling Azpi even got one of them a yellow card. 

After all of them had exited the box, the 32-year-old turned and quickly handed the ball to Havertz. 

The German, who now had additional time to think about the penalty thanks to his captain, calmly sent the goalie the wrong way and won the game for his side. 

The headlines will undoubtedly go to German, but Azpilicueta, who has now won every trophy available to him a club level, deserves his fair share of the plaudits.