07/08/2009 15:08, Report by Ben Hibbs
Chelsea 2 United 2 (4-1 on pens)
The Community Shield was prised from United’s grasp in an enthralling clash at Wembley, a game that required a penalty shoot-out to separate two evenly-matched sides. Despite this defeat, 4-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in normal time, the Reds' performance provides plenty of promise for the season ahead.
Nani had given United the lead with a long-range effort after just ten minutes, then Ricardo Carvalho equalised shortly after half-time. But in a competition that used to be called the Charity Shield, there was little charity in Chelsea’s second. As Patrice Evra lay prostrate on the ground after a bad Michael Ballack challenge, referee Chris Foy neglected to stop play and Frank Lampard scored what everyone thought was the winner. That was until substitute Ryan Giggs picked out Wayne Rooney’s run, and the Reds forward expertly finished to send the tie to the lottery of spot-kicks.
New Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti experienced his first match at Wembley and in English football, but he has plenty of recent practice in facing Sir Alex Ferguson. In four Champions League games with AC Milan - Ancelotti’s last club - the Italian won three, twice knocking United out of the competition.
However, in 2004/05 the Reds were mid-transition, while 2006/07 was perhaps the final phase in the Reds’ European education. In many ways this was a different United to the one Ancelotti faced back then. With significant differences even from last year, this would undoubtedly be the first major test of how the champions can cope without Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez. The signs are promising.