Premier League - United stun City with Wembley comeback

Sun, 07 Aug 16:34:00 2011

Manchester United completed a dramatic comeback from two goals down at half-time to beat Manchester City 3-2 with a stoppage-time winner in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Premier League - United stun City

Joleon Lescott gave City a 38th-minute lead with a towering header having beaten both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the air, before David De Gea allowed a fierce strike from Edin Dzeko to zip beyond his grasp as Roberto Mancini's side claimed a two-goal lead before the break.

Chris Smalling grabbed a goal back for United from an Ashley Young set piece as Lescott was caught out in his own box, before Nani drew his side level in the 58th minute, capping off a quite brilliant move with a clinical finish.

The match looked set to go to penalties before a speculative punt upfield from Wayne Rooney saw City defender Vincent Kompany miscue his attempted clearance and Nani netted his second after rounding Joe Hart to seal victory for United in dramatic fashion in the 94th minute.

Mario Balotelli and Dzeko formed the City frontline with new signing Sergio Aguero confined to the bench, while Sir Alex Ferguson handed debut starts to recent arrivals De Gea, Ashley Young while Danny Welbeck partnered Wayne Rooney in attack, fresh from being named in the latest England squad.

United produced an electric start as Young and Patrice Evra caused havoc down the flanks early on, and City were forced under the cosh from the outset in what was a frenetic opening.

There was a great deal of apparent animosity between the two sides as first Balotelli and Vidic locked horns with a heated exchange of words, before Anderson and Dzeko were both booked by referee Phil Dowd for another petty tussle.

A very nasty challenge then ensued from Micah Richards, who lunged in recklessly on Young to prompt a furious response from Ferguson on the touchline and referee Dowd was forced to issue a third caution - but, in truth, it could easily have been a red card for the defender in different circumstances.

While the challenges continued to fly in, City began to exert their authority with a string of set pieces and the opening goal came from an unlikely source after Evra hauled down Dzeko as Lescott clambered above both Ferdinand and Vidic to beat De Gea with a towering header.

Evra was exposed again seconds later as James Milner surged forward following the restart and was tugged down deep inside the United half. The City fans bayed for a red card, but the Frenchman was not quite the last man and the yellow card was brandished in his direction.

City appeared content to consolidate their slender advantage going into the break, but Dzeko had other ideas: the Bosnian unleashed a fierce drive from all of 30 yards in stoppage time and De Gea allowed the strike to breach his defences and United found themselves with a shock two-goal deficit as the half-time whistle sounded.

Ferguson made two changes at the break as Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley were introduced at the expense of Ferdinand and Michael Carrick and the latter almost made an immediate impact with a precise delivery into the box for Welbeck, who could only head wide of the near post.

But United did reduce the deficit just seven minutes into the second half as Young whipped over a devilish delivery from a free kick 25 yards out, and Smalling raced in beyond Lescott to steer the ball past Hart in clinical fashion.

What ensued was a period of incessant United pressure and parity was restored just before the hour mark as a quite brilliant and mesmeric move of one-touch passes culminated in an emphatic finish from Nani.

A flurry of substitutions saw both sides adopt different formations midway through the second half, and one player introduced was winger Adam Johnson, who brought a fine redemptive save from De Gea at his near post as he let fly with a ferocious drive from outside the United box.

The almost chaotic tempo of the match continued unabated as the Wembley crowd roared both sides forward, and the contest looked to be drifting inexorably towards penalties before United seized the initiative deep into stoppage time.

A quite astonishing comeback was capped as Rooney launched a long ball upfield and Kompany was horribly exposed as he failed to clear and Nani raced on to round Hart with superb composure before sliding the ball into an empty net.

It was a dramatic finale to a pulsating encounter at Wembley and, if any conclusions can be taken from the highest-scoring Community Shield since 1992, then we are set for an enthralling season.

Dan Quarrell - on Twitter @danquarrell / Eurosport

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