‘A Match For Cancer’
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, September 8, 2018
(Keane 24, Young 32, Agbonlahor 64)
(Lynch 11, Capdevila 26, 33)
STILIYAN Petrov and James Milner brought together two star-studded squads at Paradise today as the former team-mates raised money for cancer by treating fans to a thoroughly entertaining spectacle of football.
Petrov teamed up with his former Aston Villa team-mate and current Liverpool midfielder, James Milner, to recruit two sides featuring players past and present from both Celtic and Liverpool as well as names from the entertainment world.
Celtic captain Scott Brown turned out to show his support for the cause and joined Petrov on the pitch with Henrik Larsson. Other former Hoops favourites included Arthur Boruc, Jackie McNamara, Robbie Keane and Paddy McCourt. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers oversaw Stiliyan’s XI from the dugout, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp took charge of Milner’s side which also included Jamie Redknapp, Joe Hart, Luis Garcia and Dirk Kuyt.
All the money raised from the game will be devoted to tackling cancer through Celtic FC Foundation, The Stiliyan Petrov Foundation and The James Milner Foundation.
Both sets of players lined up side-by-side before kick-off as the crowd delivered a moving rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song which means so much to both Celtic and Liverpool. Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner then addressed the supporters before kick-off and thanked them for turning out for such a good cause.
The purpose of the event was to raise money for the three cancer charities but once the referee blew for kick-off, the players focused was on entertaining the fans with free-flowing football and plenty of goals.
Freestyle footballer Jeremy Lynch provided the first goal of the afternoon after converting a penalty which was awarded after the referee deemed Johan Mjallby to have blocked Luis Garcia’s shot with his hand.
Larsson had the crowd on the edge of their seat shortly after when he slipped the ball past Hart, only to be denied by Joleon Lescott’s goal line clearance. Robbie Keane rolled back the years as he had Celtic fans applauding him once again after he curled his first attempt on goal into the top corner.
Manchester United’s Ashley Young had drawn Petrov’s XI level again in the first-half, but Joan Capdevila’s second goal gave Milner’s side the lead once again.
Larsson helped even the scoring in the second half, though, with an inch-perfect assist for Gabby Agbonlahor to tuck away.
The audience was kept entertained with end-to-end football as well as an appearance from the captain who stopped the 10, Tom Boyd, who came on in the second half along with Tosh McKinlay.
James Milner’s side almost grabbed the win in the dying minutes of the game but Artur Boruc ensured the game ended 3-3, thanks to a another wonderful save.
PETROV XI: Given; Ferreira, Mjallby, McManus, McNamara; Young, Brown, Petrov; Keane, Stoichkov, Larsson
Subs: Boruc, McCourt, McKinlay, Donnelly, Mendieta, Valgaeren, Hartson, Boyd, Agbonlahor, Compston
MILNER XI: Hart; Young, Lescott, Richards, Capdevila; Kuyt, Milner, Redknapp, Garcia; Heskey, Lynch.
Subs: Kirkland, Heskey, McAteer, Hargreaves, Terry, O’Carroll, Best, Bishop