Chelsea won the 2014 FA Community Shield on penalties after a nil-nil draw at Wembley Stadium this afternoon, with referee Martin Atkinson taking centre stage for two big decisions late in the second-half.
Romelu Lukaku had the first, and only, real chance of the match when he was played through by Oscar, but he clipped the outside of the post from twelve yards out after dummying to beat Jonny Evans.
As the match turned into a less-than-entertaining battle of two very strong midfield units, the match erupted into life with fifteen minutes to play. Darren Fletcher flew into a challenge on Ashley Cole that sparked a melee, with both players being cautioned along with World Cup-winner Ramires.
Moments later, Oscar found Ben Arfa in acres of space on the right. He beat Coentrão for pace before crossing into the six-yard box where Eden Hazard and Phil Jones came together heavily, with the ball going in off the Chelsea midfielder past David De Gea.
Hazard’s celebrations were cut short by Atkinson’s whistle, indicating handball, and disallowing the goal. Worse was to follow as, apparently on advice from his assistant, Hazard was shown a straight red card, with replays showing that he swung an elbow at Jones in the build-up.
The drama was far from over, with United making the most of the man advantage and getting the ball behind the Chelsea defence for Danny Welbeck to run on to. As he knocked the ball past Petr Cech, he tumbled over the ‘keeper inside the box. No penalty, said Atkinson, and a yellow card for the United striker.
With both sides feeling aggrieved, it went to the shootout, with Chelsea first up.
Ashley Cole fired over the top before Wayne Rooney found the top corner, but parity was restored next round with Daniel Sturridge slotting home before Andriy Yarmolenk hit the post. 1-1 after two kicks each.
Azpilicueta, Cabaye and Terry all scored to put the score at 3-2 in Chelsea’s favour before Danny Welbeck had his tame effort pushed away by Cech. 3-2, four kicks each.
David Luiz stepped-up knowing he could win it from twelve yards out, but with De Gea rooted to the line, he smashed his effort against the ‘keeper’s right-hand post. Rodrigo levelled at 3-3, and it went to sudden death.
Cuadrado, Fletcher, Ramires, Jones, Allen, and Coentrão all found the back of the net to take the shootout to 6-6, having taken eight kicks each. With the goalkeepers ready to shoot in the following round, Kevin De Bruyne sent De Gea the wrong way for 7-6 to Chelsea.
Last to shoot of United’s outfield players was Nemanja Vidic, and he hit perhaps the weakest penalty of the eighteen efforts. Straight down the middle at Cech who got his body behind it to save and give Chelsea the first silverware of the English season.