Monday, August 10, 2009

Chelsea Won The Community Shield

Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United (Chelsea Win 4-1 On Pens): The Blues Seal Penalty Shoot-Out Victory

The Blues eventually clinched the trophy on spot-kicks after an entertaining 2-2 draw with the English Champions...

9 Aug 2009 16:43:45

Chelsea were triumphant in today's Community Shield encounter on penalty kicks after their clash withManchester United ended 2-2 after normal time. Nani had given United the lead before goals from Ricardo Carvalho and Frank Lampard had seemingly clinched victory for the Blues, but a Wayne Rooney goal in injury time sent the match to spot kicks. Carlo Ancelotti and his men were not to be denied, however, and they sealed a straightforward win on penalties after Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra both missed from twelve yards.

First Half
In what was an open and free-flowing encounter, both sides had a number of opportunities, with the Red Devils just edging the first-half in terms of possession and clear cut attempts on goal. Chelsea, however should have taken the lead inside the first five minutes. Frank Lampard whipped in a tremendous delivery, finding Didier Drogba unmarked, but the Ivorian’s flick header found the crossbar via the head of Patrice Evra on the goal line. The English champions then moved into the ascendency, and took the lead on ten minutes thanks to their mercurial Portuguese winger Nani. The heir apparent to Cristiano Ronaldo on the United wing seized his chance, drifting inside from the right hand side to unleash a powerful shot that flew into Peter Cech’s net. The Czech stopper will undoubtedly feel he should have done better, with the ball flapping through his fingers, but it took nothing away from the vicious nature of the strike. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men looked to press home their advantage, and not long after Dimitar Berbatov broke clear on the right hand side. His floated cross was knocked back across goal by Wayne Rooney, and Park Ji Sung managed to get some kind of connection on his volley that Cech on this occasion did well to palm away. Berbatov once again broke clear after a neat one-two with Park that left him in on goal and Jon Obi Mikel trailing in his wake, but Cech stayed big to block his effort and keep his side just one goal behind. As the match edged towards half-time, the Londoners began to enjoy more sustained levels of possession without really showing any hint of penetration. Nicolas Anelka did well to shift and shoot low inside the area, but his shot drifted wide, and so ended the first half.

Second Half
Coach Carlo Ancelotti had set his Chelsea side up in a 4-4-2 diamond formation that his players looked uncomfortable employing in the opening period, but the second half belonged to the Italian and his players, and the equaliser arrived on 54 minutes. Malouda played a teasing chip across goal and as Drogba jumped with the somewhat nervous Ben Foster, the ball broke to Ricardo Carvalho who accepted the gift to nod into the empty goal. 1-1, and probably a fair reflection of the game as a whole up until that point. After the equaliser the contest became rather disjointed, but in the end it was Chelsea who moved into the lead, and the goal was a contentious one. Patrice Evra was clearly blocked off on the left touchline by Michael Ballack, but with Wayne Rooney with the ball at his feet, referee Chris Foy waved play on. Evra remained flat out as Chelsea regained the ball and ignored pleas to knock out of play to allow the Frenchman to receive treatment. Drogba crossed to Frank Lampard, who drilled the ball into the net via the hand of Foster and the post. The Manchester United players protested, but to no avail – the goal stood and Chelsea had the advantage.

The Red Devils’ response was to make a quadruple substitution, with Giggs, Scholes, Owen and young Fabio entering the fray, but Chelsea appeared more likely to extend their lead. The ever-dangerous Drogba powered a low shot from the edge of the area that Foster instinctively smothered with his right hand. The match looked to petering out to a Chelsea win, with United largely ineffectual in the closing moments as they laboured in their attempts to draw level. But, as so often has been proven in the past, it is foolish to write off Manchester United, and in injury time they clinched a superb equaliser thanks to Wayne Rooney. The imperious Ryan Giggs slipped through a beautiful pass into the path of the 23-year old, who drove in on goal and dinked the ball precisely over the despairing Cech. No extra time is played in the Community Shield, and so we were straight to penalties. United entered the shoot-out with a mixed record, having lost to Everton in the FA Cup semi-final but defeating Spurs in the Carling Cup final, while Chelsea's agonising loss in the 2008 Champions League final was still fresh in the mind. It was Chelsea who were to clinch the victory in the showpiece thanks to efficient penalty taking coupled with two dreadful efforts from Giggs and Evra, winning 4-1 and striking the first blow prior to the Premier League campaign commencing next weekend.

Paul Macdonald,

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