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Manchester United Triumph on Penalties
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Manchester United Triumph on Penalties

Posted on May 21, 2008

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A dramatic night in Moscow ended with an emotional penalty kick shootout. The match stood at 1-1 after 120 minutes on first half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard. Chelsea captain John Terry had a chance to crown his Blues as Europe champs from the spot, but his shot hit the post. The teams then traded penalties before Edwin Van der Sar stopped Nicolas Anelka for the victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed home his 42nd goal of the season on 26 minutes to give the Red Devils the lead – but Chelsea fought back and equalised through Frank Lampard from close range on the stroke of half-time.

Didier Drogba had the best second-half chance, hitting the upright with a curling shot from 20 yards on 78 minutes – but it was 1-1 at full-time, meaning the Moscow showpiece went into extra-time.

Lampard hit the crossbar with a left-footed strike on 94, while John Terry headed sub Ryan Giggs’ goalbound shot over the bar on 100 minutes.

In the second period of extra-time, Drogba saw red on 116 after slapping Nemanja Vidic in the face following a huge flare-up between the players which also saw Carlos Tevez and Michael Ballack booked by referee Lubos Michel, who blew the whistle after 120 minutes of pulsating action for penalties.

In the shoot-out, Ronaldo’s effort was saved by Petr Cech to give John Terry the chance for a winning spot-kick, but he slipped as he struck the ball and hit the upright.

Ryan Giggs then converted to pile the pressure on Nicolas Anelka at 6-5, and the French striker’s penalty kick was superbly saved by Edwin van der Sar to spark United’s celebrations.

The win saw United complete a glorious double at the Luzhniki Stadium after their Premier League success – and they lifted the trophy for the third time following their triumphs in 1999 and 1968.

After a cagey opening 15 minutes, the game sparked into life when Ronaldo skipped past Michael Essien. The United winger delivered a cross into the area but it was marginally too high for anyone to take advantage – but it was a warning shot to Chelsea about the danger Ronaldo could pose to them.

Paul Scholes then needed treatment for a cut on his head following an aerial challenge with Claude Makelele, which provoked a brief scuffle between the sides and bookings for the two players involved.

Scholes was then involved in the opening goal on 26 minutes, combining well on the right flank with Wes Brown, who whipped in a left-footed cross which was superbly headed home by goal machine Ronaldo, who gave Cech no chance with a clinical finish at the far post.

The goal blew the game wide open, and both teams nearly scored in a frantic two-minute spell just after the half-hour mark.

First Lampard’s raking cross found Drogba in the 18-yard box, and after he headed the ball into the danger zone, Ballack forced Rio Ferdinand to head goalwards only for van der Sar to pull off an instinctive save to stop an own goal.

Then United lauched a swift counter-attack on 35 minutes, with Wayne Rooney’s stunning long pass finding Ronaldo on the left, who crossed for Tevez whose close-range header was brilliantly saved by Cech. Michael Carrick’s follow-up shot from 16 yards was goalbound – but Cech once again proved a one-man wall, palming his fierce drive to safety.

On 42 Rooney’s right-wing cross only just evaded Tevez’s lunge in the box, and at the other end Ferdinand saw yellow after obstructing Lampard on the edge of United’s 18-yard box.

Ballack lifted the free-kick over the crossbar – but Chelsea were level on 45 when Essien’s 25-yard drive deflected off Ferdinand’s back and wrongfooted van der Sar, who saw Lampard coolly sidefoot home a left-footed finish.

Ricardo Carvalho also went into the book in a fiery end to the first half for a reckless lunge on Ronaldo, and the teams went into the break tied at 1-1.

After the interval, it was the men in blue who had the edge and they won a string or corners as they set up camp inside the United half.

Vidic was heroic in defence, though, bravely clearing two Lampard corners and snuffing out an Ashley Cole cross from the left.

Essien went on a powerful run on 54 and lifted a rising drive over the bar from 18 yards, while Ballack powered a 20-yard piledriver inches wide of the upright on 58.

The Blues’ relentless pressure continued, with Carrick lunging to clear Malouda’s free-kick into the box before Lampard’s 20-yard strike was deflected by Vidic for a 66th-minute corner, which Terry headed over from close range.

The balance of power then swung the way of the Reds, with United pushing forward and seeing Carrick’s 20-yard drive deflect wide for a corner.

Ronaldo then went on a jinking run down the left flank which was ended by Joe Cole conceding a corner, which came to nothing as Owen Hargreaves overhit his delivery from the left.

As the game entered the final stages of normal it was end to end, and Malouda had a penalty appeal turned down by Michel after going down under close attention from Ferdinand.

Drogba nearly grabbed a killer goal on 78 but his brilliant curling shot from 20 yards beat the diving van der Sar but smacked against the upright.

Tevez was the next to go close, whistling an angled 25-yard drive inches wide of the target as Giggs and Anderson warmed up on the touchline.

Giggs then came on for Scholes with three minutes remaining, breaking United’s appearance record as he made his 759th run-out for the Red Devils.

Following the restart for extra-time, Malouda made way for Salomon Kalou, and Chelsea were denied by the woodwork again on 94, when Lampard swivelled brilliantly in the box and steered a left-footed shot against the bar from 12 yards out.

Anelka came on for Joe Cole and Nani replaced Rooney, but it was Giggs who was denied a goal by Terry on 100 minutes. Evra charged into the box and cut the ball back to Giggs, whose goalbound first-time effort was brilliantly headed over the crossbar by the England centre-back.

Carvalho headed a corner agonisingly wide on 105 minutes, and the first period of extra-time ended goalless, with the score still locked at 1-1 and a penalty shoot-out looming.

The second period of extra-time saw players dropping like flies all over the pitch with cramp, and tiredness led to a huge bust-up on 115 minutes, which saw Tevez and Ballack booked, and Drogba sent for an early bath.

Michel then blew for penalties after Juliano Belletti and Anderson were sent on from the bench for the shoot-out, which United won 6-5 to complete an amazing Double of domestic and European glory.

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