Dazzling American Wonder Boy, Christian Pulisic, lights up Super Cup on full Chelsea debut

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America Vs. Africa: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea FC in Ball Tussle with Mohmmed Sallah of Liverpool

By Ikechukwu Chidiebere Okoli

On the decisive night at Istanbul, the American winger impressed on his first start as Frank Lampard’s men reacted well to Sunday’s embarrassing defeat

Many American soccer fans were left disappointed when Frank Lampard snubbed Christian Pulisic from his starting line-up for Sunday’s embarrassing 4-0 opening day defeat to Manchester United. What a miss?

Nevertheless, the youngster announced himself in style on Wednesday on his first start for Chelsea as he dazzled in a thrilling UEFA Super Cup clash against Liverpool.

The two sides played out an absorbing 2-2 draw in Istanbul.. The feeling was just like what we see in a boxing bout – with Liverpool emerging victorious on penalties – and Pulisic proved that he is more than ready to star for the Blues.

After a £58 million ($70m) signing from Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic showed he can cut it at the top level when the chips are down and that he was not merely signed for commercial purposes (there were new record Premier League viewing figures from America during Sunday’s game).

His direct running and lightening-speed dribbling were a feature to note throughout his 74 minutes on the pitch, as he linked up well with fellow attackers Pedro and Olivier Giroud.

Also to add more feather to his crown, it was the same Pulisic who assisted the first goal of the Frank Lampard era as he glided through midfield and released Giroud, who finished past Adrian with aplomb.

The American wonder on the night thought he had added a brilliant goal of his own soon after as he dribbled out of a tight corner before burying the ball into the bottom corner. However, the strike was ruled out for offside.

However, the only Chelsea player who truly outshone Pulisic on the night was N’Golo Kante, who put in an indefatigable man-of-the-match performance in midfield on his return from injury.

Oliver Giroud putting Scoring the Opener for Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup Final at Istanbul

Liverpool significantly improved in the second half after the introduction of Roberto Firmino. It took no time as Sadio Mane equalised just after the break and subsequently put the Reds ahead early in extra time – both from Firmino assists.

However, Chelsea showed they have plenty of spirit to force a penalty shoot-out. It looked like a no brainier when Substitute Tammy Abraham earned a penalty in the 100th minute, which was coolly dispatched by Jorginho. But the effort was hard earned.

Unluckily for Chelsea, they stumbled 5-4 in the shootout lottery to Liverpool– with Abraham missing the decisive kick that would have extended the shootout – but Lampard will have something positive to reflect on concerning his team’s performance and reaction of his side in Istanbul.

He will also be elated that – unlike against Man Utd where they stumbled like ma pack of cart in the second half – they managed to maintain their high levels for the full 120 minutes.

Sadio Mane Equaling and Putting Liverpool ahead in the UEFA Super Cup Final in Istanbul

Nonetheless, A number of players who were heavily criticized on Sunday – such as Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro – went some distance to reply their critics.

Chelsea donated as good as they received against the champions of Europe, and while they will be disappointed at not lifting the one trophy missing from Roman Abramovich’s cabinet, there are plenty of reasons for fans to be positive.

Meanwhile, the most positive reason of all is the prospect of seeing Pulisic on a regular interval after his wonderful performance on Wednesday. 

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