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August 10, 2009

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Chelsea gives United the blues

CHELSEA got its hands on the first trophy of the English season yesterday when it beat Manchester United on penalties to win the curtain-raising Community Shield after a lively Wembley encounter had ended 2-2.

United, preparing for its English Premier League title defense without the departed Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, took an early lead through the impressive Nani.

Carlo Ancelotti's side improved markedly after the break and Ricardo Carvalho headed it level seven minutes after the interval.

With the match tied, United's Patrice Evra was lying on the ground after being fouled by Michael Ballack when Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard made it 2-1. The goal sparked a furious reaction from United players who felt the game should have been stopped.

Wayne Rooney, who was joined in attack for the final 15 minutes by United's new signing Michael Owen, then showed a cool head to beat Chelsea keeper Petr Cech in stoppage time after being sent clear by Ryan Giggs.

It proved in vain for United, however, as Giggs and Evra both had their spot kicks saved by Cech and Salomon Kalou fired high past Ben Foster to settle it, with Chelsea winning the shootout 4-1.

In France, Olympique Marseille, regarded as the title favorite, won 2-0 at Grenoble when the Ligue 1 season got under way on Saturday.

Last season's runner-up Marseille took the points courtesy of an early goal by Senegal striker Mamadou Niang and a superb late volley by midfielder Benoit Cheyrou.

The southerners have been busy on the transfer market, notably purchasing Argentine internationals Gabriel Heinze and Lucho Gonzalez as well as former Spain striker Fernando Morientes.

They also welcomed back Didier Deschamps, who was their captain when they lifted the European Cup in 1993, their last trophy to date, and is now the Marseille coach.

Olympique Lyon, which had won seven titles in a row before finishing third last season, needed a last-minute goal by new signing Lisandro Lopez to earn a 2-2 draw at Le Mans.


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