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Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010

United tops Chelsea

Hernandez helps Red Devils lift Community Shield

WEMBLEY, England (AP) Javier Hernandez scored a clumsy debut goal Sunday as Manchester United defeated Chelsea 3-1 in the Community Shield and left the defending Premier League champion looking vulnerable a week before its title defense begins.

News photo
Off on the right foot: Manchester United's Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring a goal against Chelsea during the Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London. The Red Devils defeated the Blues 3-1. AP PHOTO

While United looked clinical in the traditional curtain raiser to the season, a lethargic Chelsea side was consigned to its fourth straight preseason loss in its return to Wembley and only managed a late consolation goal from Salomon Kalou.

United lost both league encounters against Chelsea last season after being beaten in the Community Shield.

Encouragingly for United's prospects of preventing another season of Chelsea domination, Hernandez — the speedy Mexican signed from Chivas Guadalajara — looked lively when he came on at halftime, even though his 76th-minute goal was anything but graceful.

The striker stumbled as he met Antonio Valencia's cross, kicking the ball onto his own face before it drifted into the net for United's second, coming either side of goals from Valencia and Dimitar Berbatov.

"It's unbelievable to score and win this match — it's an unusual goal," the 22-year-old Hernandez said.

United manager Alex Ferguson said he thinks the signing of Hernandez for £7 million ($11 million) will turn out to be a bargain.

"He is certainly different to what we've got," Ferguson said. "He was so quick to get there (for the goal), his speed took him past the ball, he'll take that all the time."

By the time Hernandez came on to make his competitive debut, United was leading 1-0.

Valencia scored four minutes before the break after racing onto Wayne Rooney's precise, low cross. Rooney displayed quick thinking on the right flank under pressure from John Terry after meeting a lofted crossfield ball from the 35-year-old Paul Scholes, who controlled the midfield and showed watching England coach Fabio Capello what he was missing at the World Cup.

"This time last season, he's saying to himself, 'This is my last season,' " Ferguson said. "It came across my mind also, simply because he's had a lot of injuries in his career. He keeps coming back — it's not easy to do that. It's a phenomenon."

After Hernandez had given United a two-goal cushion, Kalou pulled one back in the 83rd, meeting the rebound after Edwin van der Sar parried Daniel Sturridge's shot.

But Dimitar Berbatov rounded off the win in stoppage time by tallying past Chelsea goalkeeper Henrique Hilario — a deft goal Ferguson hopes will help to end the "harsh criticism" of the club's record signing.

"It was important for Dimitar to score, he's been under a lot of pressure," defender Nemanja Vidic added. "But I think he'll score more this season."

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