Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 20 News List

United win Community Shield

DUTCH MASTEREdwin van der Sar was Manchester United's hero, saving all three penalties he faced, following a feisty 1-1 draw that saw four yellow cards

AFP, LONDON

Manchester United's goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, right, saves a penalty from Chelsea's Claudio Pizarro during their FA Community Shield soccer match at Wembley Stadium, London, on Sunday

PHOTO: AP

Edwin van der Sar helped Manchester United strike the first blow in the battle for Premiership supremacy as the champions defeated Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

The Dutch goalkeeper saved all three of Chelsea's penalties to give Sir Alex Ferguson's side a 3-0 shoot-out win over their bitter rivals after a feisty 1-1 draw at Wembley.

Ryan Giggs had given United a first half lead -- his first ever senior goal at Wembley in 17 appearances -- in the annual pre-season friendly, but Florent Malouda equalized and neither side was willing to give an inch after that.

Three Chelsea players and one from United were booked as referee Mark Halsey tried to keep control of a bruising encounter.

As has so often been the case, there was nothing between the Premiership's pre-eminent forces. But van der Sar, who had been criticized for his role in Didier Drogba's FA Cup final winner when the sides last met, was unbeatable in the shoot-out.

"My career record was 5-2 in penalty shootouts," van der Sar said. "To save three in a row is a great feeling. I think we deserved the win because we played the better football and created more clearcut chances. This is a little revenge for the FA Cup final."

Wayne Rooney disagreed with van der Sar over the revenge element of the match.

"It doesn't make up for the FA Cup," the England striker said. "As for it being a psychological boost, I am not so sure."

The defeat completed a bad day for Jose Mourinho, who had suffered a serious blow on the eve of the match when John Terry sustained reported medial knee ligament damage in training.

The Chelsea captain was forced to watch from the sidelines at Wembley and could be out for up to four weeks.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Didier Drogba and Claude Makelele had also joined Terry, Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko and Wayne Bridge on a growing injury list on Saturday.

Mourinho was left with such a threadbare squad that he started without a recognized striker and named two goalkeepers, Carlo Cudicini and Hilario, among his substitutes.

Both sides had a point to prove and there was a definite edge to the clash.

United were still smarting from that FA Cup final defeat, while the Blues wanted to show last season's surrendering of the title to United was only a temporary aberration.

United were the more fluent force for much of the game. They had the first sight of goal when Giggs seized on a deflected pass from Cristiano Ronaldo, only for Petr Cech to save well.

Ronaldo's lackluster Cup final display was a downbeat end to a magnificent season. But he was back to his bewitching best here and helped United take the lead in the 35th minute.

His perfectly-weighted pass sent Patrice Evra clear down the left and the French defender crossed towards Giggs, who showed great awareness to lift a first-time shot into the top corner.

But Chelsea drew level on the stroke of halftime. Malouda refused to let Rio Ferdinand block him as he chased Ashley Cole's lofted pass and, aided by a tug on United defender's shirt, the France winger got in front off him to poke the ball past van der Sar.

On a blisteringly hot afternoon, Rooney and Tal Ben Haim did little to cool the temperature.

Ben Haim had a history of clashing with Rooney during his time at Bolton Wanderers and the Chelsea newboy was at it again as he was booked for a crude body-check on the United player.

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