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Chelsea 2-2 Man Utd


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scoreboard.jpgHeroics from Petr Cech during a tense penalty shoot-out with Manchester United won Chelsea the 2009 FA Community Shield.

The Chelsea goalkeeper superbly denied Ryan Giggs' spot kick before pouncing on a weak Patrice Evra effort to hand Carlo Ancelotti his first silverware in England, after Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou had all expertly dispatched their penalties beyond the helpless Ben Foster. Cech had excelled during normal time as well, brilliant denying Dimitar Berbatov with a stunning reflex save, after turning aside a close-range header from Park Ji-Sung and a rasping drive from Scotland's Darren Fletcher.

The game itself was an open and exhilarating match that was full of wonderful attacking play. Luis Nani's tenth-minute effort evaded both Chelsea skipper John Terry and goalkeeper Cech as the Portuguese broke free of marker Branislav Ivanovic, but Ricardo Carvalho equalised early in the second half with a diving header after the ball had broken kindly to the Chelsea defender. Frank Lampard then put Chelsea ahead following fine play by Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, only for Wayne Rooney to clinically slide the ball beyond Cech in second-half stoppage time. Chelsea's players maintained their cool, however, elegantly and ruthlessly dispatching all four of their spot kicks, whilst only Michael Carrick could better the Blues goalkeeper with a well-placed penalty.

However, in the grand scheme of things, the result is relatively inconsequential, but coach Carlo Ancelotti will be delighted in his side's second half performance after coming from 1-0 down to take the lead against the Premier League champions. The win is Chelsea's fourth Community Shield triumph and the third in ten seasons, and following FA Cup triumphs in 2007 and 2009 at the new Wembley Stadium, Chelsea have certainly made England's show-piece stadium their second home.

Yuri Zhirkov was ruled out of the game, joining Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira as Chelsea's only notable absentees, whilst Edwin van der Sar, Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown and Gary Neville were all on the sidelines for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Nevertheless, both managers fielded strong starting elevens, with Ancelotti naming Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba in attack together. Branislav Ivanovic was given the nod over Jose Bosingwa whilst Ricardo Carvalho was preferred to Alex da Costa alongside John Terry. Michael Ballack was on the bench as Florent Malouda was preferred to the German, whilst John Mikel Obi played in the holding role in midfield. Cech, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard completed Chelsea's starting line-up.

It was a high-octane start at Wembley, with Drogba launching a dipping 30-yard effort on target that forced Ben Foster into a smart low save, and John Terry had to be alert at the other end of the field to poke a ball away from the menacing Dimitar Berbatov, who had scored at Wembley in the 2008 Carling Cup final for Tottenham. United were under early pressure due to Malouda's energy down the left, and following a corner conceded by Rio Ferdinand, the Blues could have gone ahead.

Lampard's corner evaded everyone bar Branislav Ivanovic in the box, who could only get a toe to the in-swinging delivery. The Serbian's effort had beaten Foster, but the diminutive figure of Evra on the line superbly managed to head the ball onto his own crossbar before clearing. The day's events were clearly not in favour of the Serbian defender, who was at fault for United's opener after only ten minutes.

Standing off Nani, the Serbian allowed the United winger to cut inside and launch a pile-driver from 20 yards that evaded Cech, whose attention was distracted by the presence of John Terry, and the ball nestled in the bottom corner. Ivanovic then hauled down Evra and then Nani, the latter of which earning the Chelsea number 2 a yellow card to cap off a torrid start to the game.

Wayne Rooney then headed a cross from Berbatov into the path of Park, but the Korean saw his header brilliantly parried by a diving Cech, who, moments later, was again called into action; magnificently beating away a clipped Berbatov effort after the Bulgarian had broken free of the attentions of Terry and Carvalho and found himself one-on-one with the Czech, but Chelsea's number 1 stood firm.

Chelsea had had chances themselves; with Malouda slicing wide from close range as he attempted to smash home a volleyed Drogba cross, before the Frenchman supplied Ashley Cole with the opportunity to find the forehead of Michael Essien, but the Ghanaian could only head over from the England defender's cross. Nicolas Anelka then had a powerful effort deflected over the bar via Ferdinand's forehead, before he shot wide under pressure after creating a yard of space to poke a left-footed shot just wide of the upright.

At the other end, Cech excelled once more, excellently palming over Fletcher's curling effort from 25 yards by snaking out an outstretched arm to parry the ball over the crossbar. Malouda was continuing to pose problems to the champions' defence, and his cross looking for Lampard was well blocked by Ferdinand after he had done well to wriggle free of his marker.

Jose Bosingwa entered the fray following the interval, replacing Ivanovic who had not enjoyed one of his better performances in a Chelsea jersey. Ashley Cole did very well to deny Rooney after the England striker had been played into space brilliantly by Fletcher, only to see his effort blocked by Cole's midriff. Moments later, however, United were made to pay for not taking their chances, when Carvalho cancelled out his compatriot's opener.

Lampard and Malouda combined inside the United penalty area, and Malouda's cross towards Drogba was only half dealt-with by Foster, who connected with Drogba more than the ball with an unconvincing punch, allowing Carvalho to head home unmarked at the far post from the rebound. Carvalho had started the move himself and had done well to continue his run into the penalty area, and the Portuguese's first goal since September was a welcome tonic for those in blue. Foster could then only parry a rasping drive from Anelka after he had cut inside John O'Shea, as Chelsea began to dictate play.

Michael Ballack - a substitute for Mikel - and Evra then clashed on the half-way line, with Ballack appearing to elbow the Frenchman in the chest. The referee waved play on, as United had possession, but Drogba managed to spring on a loose pass from a United player, and following a strong 50-yard run, found Lampard, who belted the ball beyond Foster, who did well even to get a hand on his countryman's shot. Chelsea had come from behind to take the lead at Wembley - a familiar-sounding story to Blues supporters. Drogba then had an effort tremendously saved by Foster, who had suffered a nervous game in goal for United, after mis-kicking a number of times and fumbling several efforts.

Salomon Kalou and Deco then came on for Chelsea, as United looked to press for an equaliser. Rooney headed over before Michael Own saw his glanced effort blocked by Cech, but the Red Devils were not to be undone, and still reeling from the aftermath of Chelsea's controversial second goal, it was the United number 10 who powered home a second goal for Sir Alex Ferguson's team, firing the ball beyond the advancing Cech with less than a minute remaining.

And as a result, the game went to penalties. Lampard, Ballack and Drogba all comfortably stroked the ball to the right of Foster and into the net as Cech denied Giggs with his legs and then Evra with a simple dive to his right. Carrick duly dispatched his effort beyond the Chelsea goalkeeper, but Kalou stepped up and lashed the ball into the top corner to crown Chelsea Community Shield winners for 2009 - and the last time the Blues achieved such a feat, they went on to win the Premier League...

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The TalkChelsea.net Star Man award goes to...

ComShield-RC6.jpg

Ricardo Carvalho, Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic (Bosingwa), Carvalho, Terry ©, A Cole; Mikel (Ballack), Essien, Malouda (Deco), Lampard; Drogba, Anelka (Kalou)

Manchester United: Foster; O' Shea (Fabio), Ferdinand ©, Evans, Evra; Park (Giggs), Carrick, Fletcher (Scholes), Nani (Valencia); Berbatov (Owen), Rooney

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