Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was the star yesterday, as he saved three penalty kicks as Man-U beat Chelsea in a shootout in the Community Shield. The Community Shield happens to be the traditional curtain-raiser to English soccer’s Premier League season.
The teams had tied 1-1 at Wembley after 90 minutes before going straight to the shootout.
Van Der Sar saved penalties from Claudio Pizarro, Frank Lampard and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech failed to get near any of the United shots from Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney. “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.”
This is the record 16th time United has either won or shared the English season opener between the league champions and FA Cup holders, which does not count in the Premier League standings. Before the introduction of shootouts in 1993, teams held the title for six months each after draws.
Ryan Giggs had put United in the lead in the 35th minute before Florent Malouda made it 1-1 in the 45th.
The regular season starts next week. The same two teams played in the FA Cup final three months ago, with Chelsea winning 1-0 at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium.
“It’s a little revenge for the cup final and it’s a good start for the league for us,” Van Der Sar said.