Salomon Kalou scored the winning penalty as Chelsea beat Manchester United 4-1 in a shootout to clinch the Community Shield in Carlo Ancelotti's first competitive match in charge.
|Michael Ballack squares up to United's Patrice Evra [GALLO/GETTY]
The traditional curtain raiser to the English season is rarely a spectacle, but on this occasion was hotly contested with a heated conclusion.
With the match level at 1-1 in the 71st minute, 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.
"With a replay you can see Ballack has elbowed the boy, and if the referee had seen it properly, it is a red card,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said.
"The referee is in line with it, and should have at least stopped the game.''
The Premier League champions, however, equalised in stoppage time when Wayne Rooney broke free.
But it was FA Cup winner Chelsea who dominated the shootout.
"This is sweet,'' Lampard said.
"It feels nice to make a winning start to the season. After that last goal we could have been on a downer but we didn't let out heads drop.''
This was United's first competitive match since losing the Champions League final to Barcelona in May and after an offseason of upheaval as Alex Ferguson prepared for his 23rd campaign in charge.
Ferguson started with Ben Foster in goal, giving him a chance to impress England coach Fabio Capello.
Foster was tested inside two minutes when Didier Drogba struck from 20 yards.
The Red Devils are still reeling from Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez being lured away from Old Trafford in big-money moves.
Ultimately, United's season is likely to hinge on how effectively Wigan's Antonio Valencia can replace Ronaldo, who was sold to Real Madrid for a record $133 million.
The Ecuador winger only played the final half hour, replacing the injured Nani, who started on the left flank and was causing problems for Chelsea right back Branislav Ivanovic.
The Portugal winger took just 10 minutes to find the target, cutting inside from the left past Ivanovic and unleashing a fierce shot past Petr Cech.
The Red Devils could have doubled their lead in the 16th when Wayne Rooney headed the ball back to Park Ji-Sung on the six-yard box, but the South Korean's effort was blocked by Cech, who also denied Dimitar Berbatov minutes later.
Chelsea then began to assert themselves with Florent Malouda shooting wide and Michael Essien heading over.
|Lamps fires home his goal [GALLO/GETTY]
The equaliser came in the 52nd when Lampard won possession in the United penalty area and picked out Malouda and a chipped effort was only half cleared by Foster who was lightly injured in a clash with Didier Drogba.
Ricardo Carvalho then headed the loose ball into the unguarded net.
"That was a poor goal from our point of view and we should have defended it better,'' Ferguson said.
Foster was also partially at fault for Chelsea's second, regardless of the contentious circumstances that led to Lampard's strike, which slipped through the 'keeper's gloves, struck the inside of the post and bounced over the line.
"Knowing Ben and the ability which he has, he should have done better with the second goal,'' Ferguson said.
For Chelsea, the victory means the players are starting the new season as the FA Cup winners left off in May - by winning a trophy.
New manager Ancelotti, who is Chelsea's fifth manager in two years, made key tactical changes at half time, notably replacing Ivanovic with Jose Bosingwa.
"We found it difficult, but we were better in the second half when we put more strength on the pitch,'' Ancelotti said.
"It was an important start to the season and now we have to continue to work and improve.
"I like the mental attitude of the players and the organisation of the club. We are now ready to start a very important season and want to do the best.''