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superfans Thousands of Chelsea and Villarreal fans descend on Belfast ahead of UEFA Super Cup

13,000 fans expected in Windsor Park for clash

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Villarreal fans in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup  Pic Pacemaker

Villarreal fans in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup Pic Pacemaker

Villarreal fans in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup Pic Pacemaker

Around 13,000 fans will descend on Belfast’s Windsor Park stadium this evening for the UEFA Super Cup clash between Champions League winners Chelsea and Europa League champions Villarreal.

The match will mark an historic night as a UEFA final has never before been held in Northern Ireland.

Thousands of fans have flown into Belfast from Spain and England for the occasion, with ticket holders having to show proof of having been vaccinated for Covid-19 before entering the stadium.

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Chelsea fans lapping up the atmosphere in Belfast  Pic Pacemaker

Chelsea fans lapping up the atmosphere in Belfast Pic Pacemaker

Chelsea fans lapping up the atmosphere in Belfast Pic Pacemaker

They must also show valid photographic ID to match the name on their vaccination cards.

In an exemption for the match, it was decided by the Stormont Executive that Villarreal fans travelling from Spain will not have to self-isolate upon their arrival in Belfast, even if they have not been vaccinated.

First Minister Paul Givan described the event as a “showcase sporting event on our doorstep”, and said there was a “real sense of excitement and anticipation” ahead of the game.

He added: “Northern Ireland has proved it is more than capable of hosting big sporting occasions and I fully expect this to be another memorable evening as we welcome footballing superstars."

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Fans gather outside the Royal Bar in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup   Pic Pacemaker

Fans gather outside the Royal Bar in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup Pic Pacemaker

Fans gather outside the Royal Bar in Belfast ahead of the Super Cup Pic Pacemaker

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: "It's great to see the UEFA Super Cup being played in Belfast, and I know many people will be looking forward to the match.

"I wish everyone - visiting supporters and local fans - a successful and safe event.

"But I would urge everyone to remember that Covid-19 is still a real threat in our society."

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As with all UEFA knockout ties, if the game is all square after 90 minutes it will go into two 15-minute periods of extra time with the game going to penalties if it’s not settled after that.

11 Super Cups have gone into extra time during the history of the competition, but only two games have been decided on penalties.

Chelsea have previously won the Super Cup, back in 1998, but lost the tie in 2012, 2013 and 2019.

With Villarreal having seen off Manchester United to lift their first ever European title they’re expected to be inspired by their new found success to put in a strong showing in a bid to do the double this evening.

Kick off is at 8pm with coverage on BT Sport 1.

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