Man United win Champions League

Penalty shoot-out heroics from Edwin van der Sar send the title to Manchester.

    Manchester United players celebrate their triumph in Moscow [AFP]

    Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar saved the 14th penalty of a dramatic shootout to give Manchester United a 6-5 win over Chelsea after a 1-1 draw in the first all-English Uefa Champions League final.

    Van der Sar, who had previously won the title with Dutch club Ajax, dived to his right to block the spot kick from Nicolas Anelka in rain at the Luzhniki Stadium to give the Red Devils their third European Cup title.

    In a final that saw plenty of the passion that the English Premiership is renowned for United led from the front after Cristiano Ronaldo scored his eighth goal of the campaign and his 42nd in all competitions in the 26th minute.

    But Frank Lampard then ensured the sides went to the break level when he equalised in the final minute of the first half.

    Chelsea were denied twice by the woodwork before goalkeeper Petr Cech saved Ronaldo's penalty in the shootout.

    That wasn't the end to the drama as Blues captain John Terry, stepping up for a chance to win the title, then slipped and shot wide.

    Anderson and Ryan Giggs, making a club record 759th appearance, then hit the target for United.


    Chelsea finished the game with 10 men after Didier Drogba was sent off in the 116th minute for petulantly tapping Nemanja Vidic in the face with his hand.

    Winning moment: Edwin van der Sar saves a
    penalty by Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka [AFP]


    That moment of madness could well be his last for the club.

    Carlos Tevez, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves and Nani scored United's other kicks, while Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti, Lampard, Ashley Cole and Salomon Kalou converted for Chelsea.

    Chelsea stifled United's efforts to create moves in the first 25 minutes and the action got stuck in the midfield, but Ronaldo then struck and the game came alive.

    Poorly marked by Michael Essien, Ronaldo headed in a cross from Wes Brown, who had neatly swapped passes with Paul Scholes on the right wing.

    Scholes had remained on the field despite a serious injury to his nose.

    The midfielder was hurt while jumping for a high ball with Claude Makelele six minutes earlier and emerged with blood pouring from his nose.

    After treatment, he was able to carry on and played a key part in the United goal.

    End to end action

    Chelsea almost equalised in the 34th when Van der Sar had to make a reflex save from his own defender, Rio Ferdinand.

    The United captain was under pressure from Ballack as they chased a headed pass from Drogba and, when the ball came off his head, the Netherlands goalkeeper pushed it over the bar.

    But only a reaction save from Cech then stopped United from doubling their advantage after a sweeping attack which took the ball the length of the field through Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo saw firstly Tevez’s header blocked and then Carrick’s follow-up shot tipped over the bar.

    Shattered: John Terry reflects on his miss [AFP]

    The was some fortune to Chelsea's equaliser in the final minute of the half when a shot from Essien hit United defenders Vidic and Ferdinand and the ball dropped to the unmarked Lampard, who scored from 10 metres.

    The London club were far more aggressive in the second half with Essien pushing forward into his usual midfield role, and they soon took control as Ballack went close with a run and 25-metre shot which flew past the post.

    United, by contrast, were struggling to create the necessary chances.

    Denied by the woodwork

    Drogba almost put Chelsea ahead in the 78th minute with a curling shot from 25 metres which beat Van der Sar and hit the far post.

    Lampard hit the bar in the fourth minute of injury time with a left foot shot from 15 metres as Chelsea continued to threaten.

    But Terry rescued the Blues when he got his head in the way of a goalbound shot from Giggs, whose 759th appearance for the Red Devils beat the record he shared with Bobby Charlton.

    The much criticised playing surface held up for the most part, however players did seem to be having trouble keeping their footing towards the end of the match.

    Just how much is made of the surface in the post-mortems given Terry’s fateful slip is anyone guess, but one thing is certain, the trophy is heading to Manchester.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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