Chelsea 2 – 2 Man Utd
Carlo Ancelotti celebrated the start of his Chelsea reign with silverware as they claimed the Community Shield with victory over Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out at Wembley.
Nani’s angled strike gave the Premier League champions an early lead – but Ricardo Carvalho’s headed equaliser and a hotly-disputed strike from Frank Lampard looked to have given Chelsea victory.
Wayne Rooney added an extra layer of drama to a highly-entertaining encounter when he slid home a composed finish to level for United with almost the last action of normal time.
United felt justice had been served after they fell behind to Lampard’s goal with 20 minutes left, scored with defender Patrice Evra lying injured after he was fouled by Chelsea substitute Michael Ballack, an offence missed by referee Chris Foy.
But Rooney’s goal was not to prove the platform for a United victory – with Chelsea delivering an emphatic performance in the spot-kick decider.
Lampard, Ballack and Didier Drogba were on target for Chelsea, while only Michael Carrick scored for United, who saw efforts from Ryan Giggs and Evra saved by Petr Cech – allowing Salomon Kalou to complete the formalities with the decisive penalty.
Chelsea showed familiar resilience to come from behind, as they did to win the FA Cup against Everton at Wembley in May, but United will also take encouragement in defeat, with Rooney demonstrating what an influential figure he will be in the aftermath of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson chose to keep his powder dry when it came to his new acquisitions – leaving Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia on the bench.
And it was familiar faces who were prominent early on, with Evra diverting Branislav Ivanovic’s close-range effort on to the bar after Lampard’s corner caused confusion in the area.
It was a vital intervention, as was proved conclusively when Nani gave United the early advantage with a fine angled finish after 10 minutes. He got the better of Ivanovic, as he did throughout the opening half, but his finish flew close to Chelsea keeper Cech, who had to carry some responsibility for the goal.
Cech made amends for his error with two crucial saves in quick succession, first from Ji-Sung Park after Rooney headed Dimitar Berbatov’s cross into his path – and then from the Bulgarian as he raced clear into the Chelsea penalty box.
Chelsea had faded after an encouraging opening, but Nicolas Anelka gave them renewed hope when he fired narrowly wide, although Cech had to excel again to save from Darren Fletcher after he worked a short corner with Nani.
Ancelotti made a predictable change at the interval, replacing the toiling Ivanovic with Jose Bosingwa, and Chelsea were level seven minutes after the restart.
United keeper Ben Foster had endured some uncomfortable moments under the gaze of England coach Fabio Capello, and when he could only punch away Florent Malouda’s cross under heavy physical pressure from Drogba, Carvalho was lurking to score with a diving header.
And United suffered a further blow just after the hour when Nani, who had created an excellent impression, went off cradling a shoulder injury and was replaced by summer signing Valencia.
Nani (right) put Man Utd ahead but later picked up a shoulder injury
Chelsea then took the lead in contentious circumstances with 20 minutes left, as United were left questioning both referee Foy and the sportsmanship of Ancelotti’s side.
Evra was clearly felled by Ballack, and United felt they should have put the ball out of play as the France defender lay prone on the Wembley turf.
Chelsea played on and United’s frustration reached fever pitch when Foster could not keep out Lampard’s shot and it squirmed over the line.
United’s players surrounded Foy, but their protests were in vain as Chelsea celebrated taking the lead.
Ferguson then made a quartet of substitutions, sending on Owen, Paul Scholes, Giggs and Fabio da Silva for Park, Berbatov, Fletcher and John O’Shea.
It was a move that looked destined for failure until Rooney ran on to an astute pass from Giggs and slipped a composed finish beyond Cech with virtually the last kick of normal time.
But it was only a temporary reprieve as Chelsea performed with much greater assurance than United in the shoot-out to give Ancelotti cause for celebration with his staff and players on the Wembley touchline.