Monday, 8 August 2011

Report: Bitter rivals Manchester United complete comeback to win Community Shield

Another brilliant Manchester Derby saw Manchester United complete a dramatic comeback to win the Community Shield against City and win the first piece of silverware this season. The Community Shield probably needed a game like this to be sparked into life, with both sides desperate to get one over each other.

It was a poor display from City, who for the whole 90 minutes, seemed to be second best. Poor passing and lazy tackling from the players meant that United never really had to get out of second gear to exact their revenge after the FA Cup Semi Final. There was also no debut for Sergio Aguero, who was left on the bench by manager Roberto Mancini, who preferred Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli over the 23 year old Argentinian. 

United manager Alex Ferguson decided to play two of his new signings in David de Gea and Ashley Young, whilst Phil Jones was left on the bench. He also favoured Danny Welbeck to partner Wayne Rooney up front, leaving Dimitar Berbatov on the bench, further indication that the Bulgarian is on his way out of United.

The game started off in electric fashion, with City looking unable to cope with Nani and Young on the wings, and they were creating havoc for the two full backs. However, there was no end result from these two, and the early stages were dominated by strong tackles and animosity between the two sets of players; typical of a Derby. 

City started to use their powerful team to their advantage though as the game edged towards the 30 minute mark, through a set piece. Evra hauled down Dzeko, and from the resulting free kick, Joleon Lescott climbed above the United defenders to beat de Gea with a brilliant header to put the Blues ahead. It was arguably undeserved, but City found some confidence from the goal, and minutes later James Milner got past Evra before being taken out just outside the penalty area. It seemed like Evra was the last man, but referee Phil Dowd didn't produce any cards to the Frenchman. 
Jumping for joy: Dzeko celebrates
City's second

City's confidence grew throughout the later stages of the first half, and were keeping the ball very well. They seemed content to keep it 1-0, but with about a minute of the half left, Edin Dzeko found himself unmarked from about 30 yards out and unleashed a ferocious shot which went under de Gea and into the back of the net. The Bosnian was clearly delighted with his effort, and rightly so. City went into the break 2-0 ahead, and really, although they were second best, they took their chances unlike United.

That was soon to change though, and after the break, United looked a revived team after making 3 changes. Phil Jones, Johnny Evans and Tom Cleverley replaced Vidic, Ferdinand and Carrick. Cleverley also made an immediate impact with a cross into the box to Welbeck, whose header went embarrassingly wide. 

It took United just 7 minutes to get a goal back, with a free kick from Young being steered in by Chris Smalling from yards out. It was poor defending from City though, and was pretty much a gift wrapped goal. United took the gift with open arms and ensued with constant pressure before grabbing their second goal just before the hour mark. A great move from the Champions which involved a number of one touch passes led to Nani smashing the ball above Joe Hart into the goal. 

How did that happen? Mancini's face
says it all.
There was a number of substitions after this, with both sides changing formations to try and find a way past their opponents defences, and it was City who had the best chance to go ahead again when substitute Adam Johnson forced a fine save from the United keeper at his near post after hitting the ball firmly just outside the area.

Both teams were being roared on by their supporters to grab a winner, but with the game seemingly heading to penalties, United took the initiative with just seconds left. City were pushing for a winner with a corner, but it was headed away, and Rooney kicked the ball upfield. A very uncharacteristic error from City's captain Vincent Kompany led to Nani being given a chance to win the game with just Joe Hart to beat, he used great composure to slide past England's number one keeper and tap it into the goal, sending the United fans into raptures (who said it didn't mean anything to them!!).

Whilst it was a disappointing result for City fans, we can be sure of one thing this season; it should be a great ride!

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