Man United Clinch Shield After Shoot-Out

Manchester United won the Community Shield on penalties after the game had finished goalless after 90 minutes. Although Manchester United had dominated the game they failed to convert their chances against a disappointing Portsmouth side and needed the shoot out to clinch victory.

Gary Neville lead the Double winners out at Wembley for his first start in 17 months, and United quickly found their feet, dominating the first half and forcing the FA Cup winners onto the back foot early on.

First Half

The movement of Nani, Giggs and Tevez caused problems for Portsmouth in the first period, in particular Nani’s speed which brutally exposed Sol Campbell’s lack of pace. Yet their finishing let them down, and only emphasised United’s need to bring in a new striker before the close of the transfer window.

United’s first chance came as early as the tenth minute. A Nani free kick from the left was whipped in with Vidic rushing in to meet it but David James managed to punch clear. Minutes later, Tevez was sent clear but the covering Distin managed to recover and deflect his shot.

The Argentinean striker had the chance to make amends moments later but he put his header wide after a Fletcher cross from the right. Giggs was the next to try his luck, this time with a shot from a tight angle but James saved comfortably.

The best chance of the first half undoubtedly fell to Fletcher just after the half hour mark. Nani robbed Glen Johson on the edge of the box and put in a great cross for the on-rushing Scotsman. The ball was set up beautifully for the half-volley however, Fletcher miscalculated and with the ball stuck under his feet, Portsmouth managed to recover.

In stark contrast to United, Portsmouth were struggling to create any chances and Defoe and Crouch were virtually starved of service. The closest the FA Cup winners came to a goal was five minutes before the interval. An Evra mistake let in Defoe who closed in on goal before hitting a woeful shot well wide.

Second Half

The second half began in the same fashion with Fletcher having another chance to open the scoring for United. A James punch from a United corner found the midfielder lurking on the edge of the box. However, his dinked ball back in was touched by James onto the bar.

The next chance fell to Tevez. The striker burst into the box, going easily past Johnson and shot well only for James to save again and also deny Fletcher who was closing in on any potential rebound.

Harry Redknapp attempt to change matters on the hour mark with John Utaka coming on for the ineffective Kranjcar. The Nigerian received an immediate welcome from Neville, who clattered into him straight away and received a booking on his return to first team action.

With twenty minutes to go David James was forced into action once again, this time with a spectacular save from Tevez that will have impressed the watching Fabio Capello.

The save appeared to spur Portmsouth on and the game finally began to open up. Firstly, Portsmouth broke away with Diop crossing in a great ball, however Vidic defended well and United were able to clear. Defoe then made an excellent run but again Vidic managed to get back and deny him a shooting chance.

At the other end United were denied a clear penalty kick after Hreidarsson clearly brought down Tevez. However, Tevez reacted angrily and was lucky to stay on the pitch after lashing out at the Icelandic defender.

And so on to penalty kicks and as in the Champions League final United were impeccable from the spot. Diarra, Mvuemba and Johnson all missed for Portsmouth whilst Tevez, Giggs and Carrick made no mistake from the spot to hand the Shield to United.

Whilst Ferguson will be happy with his side’s performance, he will be concerned by their finishing, especially with last season’s top scorer Ronaldo expected to miss the first few weeks of the season.

Harry Redknapp meanwhile will be expecting an improved performance from his side next weekend when the real competition begins and Portsmouth face a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (Brown, 66), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, O'Shea (Carrick 66), Scholes, Giggs, Nani (Campbell, 78), Tevez.

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson (Lauren, 80), Diop, Pedro Mendes (Mvuemba, 75(, Diarra, Kranjcar (Utaka, 59), Crouch, Defoe.

Manchester United win their FA Community Shield again after the penalty shoot out.

Man United Clinch Shield After Shoot-Out Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:10 PM Rating: 5

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