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Galaxy beat Victory on penalties

David Beckham enjoyed what could be his final game in a Los Angeles Galaxy shirt as the Major League Soccer champions won the Hyundai Club Challenge with a penalty shoot-out victory over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.

Beckham, whose contract with the Galaxy expires later this month, was named Man of the Match as the game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes before the visitors edged it on spot-kicks.

The former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star departed, having won the penalty which enabled the Galaxy to equalise early in the second half, a minute from time holding his right hamstring.

Victory took a 2-0 lead thanks to Carlos Hernandez on 15 minutes and Isaka Cernak 22 minutes later. But two penalties either side of half-time, both of which were contentious, saw the Galaxy draw level with Robbie Keane flawless from the spot.

The match went to penalties and although Landon Donovan missed for the Californians, Paulo Retre and Marco Rojas followed suit to deny the hosts.

It was an end-to-end first half, with Archie Thompson having one shot saved and pushing another wide inside the first five minutes.

Beckham got the crowd going with an ambitious lob from 50 yards which almost caught Ante Covic out as it sailed just wide.

But 15 minutes in it was the home side celebrating when Cernak set up Hernandez, whose first shot was blocked by a defender before he got clear to beat Josh Saunders for the opener.

Adam Cristman headed wide at the other end before Victory striker Danny Allsopp hit two efforts straight at Saunders.

The second goal came after 37 minutes with Hernandez playing provider to Cernak this time, hitting a perfectly weighted ball for the midfielder to run on to and finish well.

Galaxy had a Keane shot saved before Chris Birchall's drive forced a Victory handball in the box and a penalty for the visitors. Keane slotted the spot kick to make it 2-1.

Victory should have restored the two-goal buffer before half-time with Adrian Leijer having a header cleared off the line by Birchall before Allsopp waltzed onto an excellent chance but hit it over.

Beckham inserted himself into the game in a decisive manner soon after the resumption and when he was upended by Petar Franjic, referee Strebre Delovski again pointed to the spot. Keane had no trouble beating substitute keeper Lawrence Thomas.

Keane fired two presentable chances over the bar before the hour mark, while Donovan and Paolo Cardozo were also off target.

There was also a fair share of profligacy at the other end with Jean Carlos Solorzano unable to shoot into an open goal and then failing in his bid for a penalty.

Allsopp went close late on while Galaxy's Hector Jimenez hit the post.

The shoot-out looked like going Melbourne's way, but a couple of mistakes from youngsters proved the difference.


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