CARDIFF, Aug 13 (SW) - A second-half header by Peter Crouch gave Liverpool a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, the traditional curtain-raiser on the English top-flight season.
After dominating the possession early on, Liverpool went in front after nine minutes when Norway international John Arne Riise hit one of his trademark 25-yard drives that beat Carlo Cudicini in the Chelsea goal.
The two teams scuffled quite a bit after that with Boudewijn Zenden and Frank Lampard getting into a shoving match, and later Luis García and Michael Essien exchanging pleasantries.
In the 26th minute, Chelsea were forced to make an early switch as Michael Ballack limped off with a hip injury and he was replaced by new signing Salomon Kalou.
Peter Crouch nearly made it 2-0 with a header from close range, but Cudicini was right there with him to put it over the top, and that would prove big as Chelsea equalized in the 43rd minute.
Andriy Shevchenko timed his run up the middle perfectly and latched onto a pass over the top from Frank Lampard before stroking beyond José Reina to make it 1-1.
Just after the restart, Zenden received a lovely pass in the area from García and he had a decent scoring chance, but the Dutchman hit the final shot horribly wide of the target.
Didier Drogba then forced a fingertip save out of Reina with a lofted shot from the right side of the area in the 55th minute, and the Spanish keeper did well to keep out a Shevchenko effort moments later.
A period of about 20 minutes of inaccurate passing and failure to control ensued between the two teams, but eventually some flat-footed Chelsea defending allowed Crouch a free header from substitute Craig Bellamy's cross in the 80th minute, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Fabio Aurelio nearly extended the lead in the 86th minute, but Cudicini made the save, and Liverpool held on to claim the first trophy of the English season.
Chelsea: Cudicini; Geremi (Bridge 54), Carvalho, Terry, Ferreira (Mikel 82); Essien, Ballack (Kalou 26), Lampard; Robben (Diarra 62), Shevchenko, Drogba (Wright-Phillips 72).
Liverpool: Reina; Riise, Carragher, Agger, Finnan; Pennant (Gerrard 60), Sissoko, Zenden (Alonso 60), González (Aurelio 56); García (Bellamy 66), Crouch (Sinama-Pongolle 89).
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