Arsenal give Chelsea the blues
LONDON: Olivier Giroud scored the decisive spot kick as Arsenal beat Chelsea 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out to win the Community Shield at Wembley yesterday.
After the Premier League and FA Cup winners were locked at 1-1 following an evenly contested 90 minutes, the Frenchman stroked home after Alvaro Morata and Thibaut Courtois missed for Chelsea, in a shoot-out that trialled the new ‘ABBA system’.
Chelsea’s Victor Moses opened the scoring when he reacted fastest to smash a loose ball past Petr Cech in the 46th minute before Arsenal substitute Sead Kalasinac equalised in the 82nd minute, heading home to cap an impressive performance.
Chelsea’s Pedro was dismissed for a nasty lunge on Mohamed Elneny which led to Arsenal’s equaliser while Arsene Wenger’s side also handed a debut to record signing Alexandre Lacazette.
At a sun-kissed Wembley Arsenal started brightly with Lacazette, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi all having early half-chances.
Arsenal’s fluid front three continued to cause the Premier League champions problems and midway through the half France forward Lacazette saw his curling effort cannon off the post.
Chelsea grew into the game and Spanish winger Pedro drew a save from Cech with a fearsome drive following a swift counter-attack.
The second half was less than a minute old when Moses reacted fastest against a static Arsenal defence to thrash home Gary Cahill’s header.
In response, Courtois had to be alert to beat away a fierce, goal-bound cross from Elneny and then a rasping long-range drive from Granit Xhaka before the impressive Kolasinac nodded home a deserved equaliser.
Morata was brought on in the closing stages and the 24-year-old headed narrowly wide late on in what would have been the perfect introduction following his summer arrival from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Cahill, scored for Chelsea to open the shootout, which was based on the ABBA format used in tennis tie-breaks.
Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal scored for Arsenal before Chelsea keeper Courtois and Morata blazed high and wide respectively, leaving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud to convert in front of the jubilant Arsenal supporters.
Meanwhile, Vivianne Miedema scored twice as hosts Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2 to become only the fourth nation to win the women’s European Championship since its inception in 1984.
Underdogs Denmark took the lead through a Nadia Nadim penalty after just five minutes of the final, but the Dutch struck back quickly, Miedema slamming home Shanice van de Sanden’s superb squared pass.
Lieke Martens then put the home side in front by curling home a bouncing shot, but Pernille Harder equalised before the break, cutting in from the right and rifling the ball home with her left foot.
The Dutch would not be denied however, and Sherida Spitse scored a free-kick early in the second half before Miedema put the result beyond doubt with a brilliant run and finish in the 89th minute.