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Nani sinks City at the death
Portuguese equalises for Man Utd before forcing a Vincent Kompany mistake to beat rivals City in the Community Shield.
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2011 15:42
Moment of truth: Kompany realises his mistake has proved fatal as Nani taps home the winner [GALLO/GETTY]

Portuguese winger Nani stole the ball from Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany on the stroke of full time to win the Community Shield for Manchester United at Wembley.

Nani had earlier completed a sublime passing move from United to score the equaliser after the Reds had gone 2-0 down in London.

As the clock tucked towards a penalty shootout in the traditional season-opener to the English Premier League on Sunday, Nani raced through to put pressure on Kompany, who gifted him the ball.

The United man then hared half the length of the field before rounding Joe Hart and slotting into the net in front of delirious fans.

Earlier, City defender Joleon Lescott and striker Edin Dzeko scored late in the first half to stun Premier League champions United, who had dominated the early stages against the FA Cup winners.

United responded quickly after half time, however, defender Chris Smalling steering Ashley Young's free kick past England keeper Hart from close range and Nani finishing off a superb intricate passing movement with a deft chip from a narrow angle on 58 minutes.

With no extra time it looked like penalties would be needed to settle the tie as the four minutes of stoppage time wound down.

But there was a sting in the tail as United punted a clearance down-field from a City corner.

Charged down

Nani was the only United player anywhere near the ball and, after Gael Clichy had hesitated, he charged down Kompany's weak touch, sprinted clear to round Hart and slotted home the winner with virtually the last kick.

It was the perfect way for United, who have won this trophy four times in the last five years, to conclude their pre-season program ahead of the start of the Premier League campaign next weekend. 

Dzeko, left, put City 2-0 up before they disintegrated in the second half [EPA]

Ferguson has always played down the significance of the Community Shield, but the bitter memories of last season's FA Cup semi-final defeat against City provided United with more motivation than usual.

England winger Young, making a confident start after his move from Aston Villa, took advantage of his license to drift infield to link up with Wayne Rooney and advanced to a threatening position before Lescott came across to block the shot.

This may have been a friendly in name but the derby factor and a feeling FA  Cup winners City will be the main challengers for United's title gave an added spice to the occasion.

Some of the tackles were laced with venom and City defender Micah Richards  was lucky to avoid becoming a rare Community Shield dismissal as he caught Young with a nasty studs-up lunge.

In amongst all the aggression, Ferguson's side looked the more cohesive unit.

Yet it was City who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 38th minute.

David Silva was the provider with an inswinging free-kick and Lescott, edging in front of Rio Ferdinand, found just enough room to glance a header past David De Gea, who was caught flat-footed as the ball came in.

Nani saw a free-kick deflected just wide as United tried to hit back but City were transformed.

Menace

A previously disjointed attack buzzed with menace and Dzeko increased their lead in first half stoppage time.

If De Gea was partly at fault for the first goal, the Spaniard will surely feel he should have done much better with the second.

Dzeko took possession 25 yards from goal and, when United's defenders backed off, the Bosnian tried his luck with a long-range effort.

There was power and swerve in Dzeko's strike but De Gea should still have saved it.

Instead he dived late and the ball flashed past his out-stretched arm.

Ferguson made three changes at half-time, hauling off Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick, and United were back in the game within seven minutes as Dzeko undid his earlier good work.

When Young curled in a free-kick, Dzeko allowed Smalling to run free and the defender had yards of space to volley past Hart from close-range.

United had rediscovered the verve that swept through City for much of the first half and they equalised with a breathtaking move in the 58th minute.

Nani started it with a pass into Rooney and the England forward clipped the ball onto substitute Tom Cleverley, whose measured return allowed Nani to burst past Hart and lift a fine finish into the roof of the net.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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