Man United takes Shield on penalties

Tal Ben-Haim starts at center back and plays the full 90 minutes.

August 6, 2007 02:52
3 minute read.
Man United takes Shield on penalties

tal ben-haim 88. (photo credit: )


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Edwin Van Der Sar saved three penalties Sunday to give Manchester United a 3-0 penalty shootout win over Chelsea in the Community Shield. Tal Ben-Haim, who moved to Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers during the summer, started at center back with John Terry out injured and played the full 90 minutes, illustrating manager Jose Mourinho's faith in his abilities. Ben-Haim had a solid game, but picked up the first yellow card of the match after fouling United striker Wayne Rooney. The teams had drawn 1-1 before the shootout. Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney scored in the shootout for United. While Van Der Sar saved shots from Claudio Pizarro, Frank Lampard and Shaun Wright-Phillips, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech failed to get near any of United's kicks. "I was 5-2 down in penalty shootouts in my career so this makes it 5-3," Van Der Sar said. "We deserved it. We played the better football, we had more chances than them." Ryan Giggs had put United ahead in the 35th minute of the match before new Chelsea signing Florent Malouda made it 1-1 just before halftime. It is the record 16th time United has either won or shared the traditional English season opener between the league champions and FA Cup holders. Before the introduction of shootouts in 1993, teams held the title for six months each after draws. The first Community Shield match at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium was played in warm temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius. Even with the heat and Chelsea missing captain John Terry because of an ankle injury, the game was full of the sort of committed tackling that was missing from the FA Cup final between the same sides at the stadium three months ago. That game of few chances finished 1-0, but there seemed no chance of another sterile game as United attacked from the start in front of a crowd of 80,731. "It's a little revenge for the Cup final and it's a good start for the league for us," Van Der Sar said. Giggs, the oldest outfield player at 33, forced the first save of the match in the 21st with a shot that Cech blocked. That sparked a flurry of chances as Rooney shot wildly high from the resulting corner and Carrick curled the ball wide a minute later. Michael Essien headed Chelsea's first chance wide in the 26th, but United went even closer shortly after with the most intricate move of the match. It ended when Rooney shaped as though about to shoot but laid the ball off to Cristiano Ronaldo on the right of the area. Fullback Mikael Silvestre just failed to get on the end of Ronaldo's cross at the far post. While United started with a team composed entirely of players who won last season's Premier League - leaving Nani on the bench and omitting Owen Hargreaves and Anderson from the squad - Chelsea included Ben-Haim as well as Malouda. The freekick which followed the Israeli's barge on Rooney indirectly to the opening goal. Ronaldo's shot was cleared but the ball was played back in and Patrice Evra beat the defense to cross from the left. Giggs got to the pass first and hit a lifting shot into the net. "That's why we're champions," the United fans sang. Chelsea drew level in the 45th when Malouda broke from the left and, muscling past Ferdinand, he hit a shot past Van Der Sar with the outside of his boot while falling to the ground. "You're not singing any more," the Chelsea fans retorted. Cech blocked a sequence of three shots and rebounds at the start of the second half, the last from Rooney, but Chelsea seemed lifted by its goal and started to consistently pressure United's defense for the first time in the match. Struggling after knocking his knee while scoring, Malouda was replaced by Pizarro in the 52nd. The introduction of a striker seemed to give Chelsea a focal point in attack, but the chances continued to come at both ends. The game slowed as each team made substitutions, but Ronaldo still drew a late save from Cech. Chelsea brought on a fourth new player, midfielder Steve Sidwell, while United eventually introduced Nani. The game went to a shootout in front of the Chelsea fans, but Van Der Sar made almost identical saves high to his right from Pizarro and Lampard. Ferdinand and Carrick scored with low shots to the right and Van Der Sar then saved Wright-Phillips' shot on his left, leaving Rooney to hit score the winning goal.

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