United win Community Shield
Dutch Goalkeeper produces penalty heroics
By Peter Fraser. Last Updated: August 6, 2007 7:09am
Van der Sar: penalty heroics
Edwin van der Sar produced a hat-trick of penalty saves to hand Manchester United victory over Chelsea in an entertaining Community Shield.
With the two sides tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, following goals from Ryan Giggs and Florent Malouda, Van der Sar saved from Claudio Pizarro, Frank Lampard and Shaun Wright-Phillips to give Wayne Rooney the honour of striking the winning kick following successful conversions from Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick.
The result is a mirror of the 1997/98 Shield when United won on penalties following a 1-1 draw, but it was Chelsea who began this year's curtain raiser the brightest and with Joe Cole, Malouda and Wright-Phillips forming the trademark Stamford Bridge front three it was unsurprising to see Jose Mourinho's side looking to forage down the flanks.
The Blues were without regular captain John Terry, following the news that the centre-back has been ruled out for up to a month with a knee problem, and Lampard, who was greatly restricted throughout, was handed the skipper's armband.
United appeared content with their own cagey opening and comfortably contained the light-weight Chelsea attack, which was missing Didier Drogba after the Ivory Coast striker was also ruled out through injury.
Indeed, it was United who had the first effort on target when Cristiano Ronaldo inevitably gave the Premier League Champions their impetus when he broke down the left on 20 minutes to feed Giggs, but the Welsh veteran's close range effort was excellently blocked by Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.
Chelsea then had their best effort when Michael Essien flicked on a Malouda free-kick, which just evaded John Obi Mikel, who would have comfortably headed home at the far post.
United, though, then began to discover the fluid attacking play which won them the title last season and on 35 minutes Giggs was able to atone for his earlier miss.
Nemanja Vidic collected a poor free-kick from Ronaldo, who had blasted straight into the feet of the Chelsea wall, and found Patrice Evra on the left wing with a beautiful cross field ball.
Following a skilled one-two with Ronaldo, Evra then had time and space at the dead-ball line to pull back and find Giggs, who finished with control in a crowded penalty area.
Chelsea had lacked penetration, but on the stroke of half-time Malouda restored parity when the £13.5million summer signing from Lyon latched onto a deft through ball from Ashley Cole and showed strength and speed to shrug off Ferdinand to bravely prod past Van der Sar before he was clattered by the Dutch goalkeeper.
After the interval United appeared stung by the equaliser and immediately threatened when Evra again easily broke down the left to feed Ronaldo, but the winger's effort was well saved by Cech.
Chelsea introduced Pizarro as a replacement for Malouda, who was still struggling following his collision with Van der Sar, and United brought on Nani as the second-half became a more open affair, but clear cut goal chances remained at a premium.
Wright-Phillips and Ronaldo looked the most dangerous for the opposing sides, but neither were capable of conjuring a winner and penalties were to be required.
Van der Sar promptly produced his heroics and handed United the 3-0 penalty win.