Man U wins Champions League on PK’s
AP Soccer Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
MOSCOW ” Manchester United beat Chelsea 6-5 in a rain-soaked penalty shootout to win the European Champions League title Wednesday night following a 1-1 tie.
In the first final between two English teams, Edwin van der Sar batted away Nicolas Anelka’s drive on the 14th kick to give Manchester United its third Champions League title. The championship, following titles in 1968 and 1999, came in the 50th anniversary year of the plane crash that killed eight United players in Munich, Germany.
Cristiano Ronaldo had scored in the 26th minute for Manchester United, his 42nd goal of the season. Frank Lampard tied it for Chelsea in the 45th at Luzhniki Stadium, pointing both hands skyward in honor of his mother, who died last month.
Ronaldo was stopped by goalkeeper Petr Cech on United’s third penalty kick, giving John Terry a chance to win Chelsea’s first Champions League’s title with the score 4-4. But taking his team’s fifth shot, the Chelsea captain slipped and hit a post as Manchester keeper Edwin van der Sar dived the other way. Terry sat on the ground in disbelief.
Anderson and Ryan Giggs ” making his club-record 759th appearance ” then converted for United around Salomon Kalou’s score for Chelsea.
That left it up to Anelka, whose failure at just past 1:30 a.m. set off another celebration for the Red Devils, who 10 days earlier won their second straight English Premier League title by beating out Chelsea on the final day of the season.
Carlos Tevez, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves and Nani scored the other kicks for United, who won their first European title since Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer took over the team. Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti, Lampard, Ashley Cole scored for Chelsea.
Chelsea, which has become a European power under high-spending Russian owner Roman Abramovich, finished with 10 men after Didier Drogba was ejected in the 116th minute for petulantly tapping Nemanja Vidic in the face with his hand.
Only the pre-game opening ceremony made it look like Moscow. After that it could have been Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or Wembley as players so familiar with each other were roared on by English fans.
The first 25 minutes, however, were a poor advertisement for the Premier League as Chelsea stifled United’s efforts to create moves and the action got stuck in the midfield.
Ronaldo, 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. Ronaldo scored a Champions League-leading eight goals in 11 matches, and his season total was third in United history behind Denis Law (46 in 1963-64) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (44 in 2002-3).
Chelsea equalized when Essien’s shot hit defenders Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, and the ball dropped to the unmarked Lampard, who scored from 12 yards.
Lampard hit the crossbar in the fourth minute of injury time with a left-footed shot from 15 yards. Giggs, who broke Bobby Charlton’s record for United appearances, nearly tied it in the 100th but Terry deflected the shot with his head.
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