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Eric Cantona

Soccer Aid at Old Trafford raises £5.5m for Unicef

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Manchester United legend Eric Cantona was back out on the hallowed Old Trafford turf on Sunday night, but the Frenchman couldn’t prevent his and Usain Bolt's World XI side losing out as Robbie Williams' England won a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the biannual Soccer Aid for Unicef match.

A highly entertaining match was witnessed by 71,965 fans, making it the biggest-ever attendance for a Soccer Aid match since the event began in 2006. Significantly, over £5.5 million was raised on the night for Unicef's vital global work with disadvantaged children.
Usain Bolt
The game got off to a flying start when the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, almost stole in after a risky back pass from TV personality Mark Wright but ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman just got there ahead of him.

Soon after, former United keeper Edwin van der Sar came out to smother the ball away from Darren Bent, but the Dutchman was powerless to stop the England man slotting home on 12 minutes after a superb through ball from captain Olly Murs.
Phil Neville

England doubled the advantage five minutes later when a Wright cross from the left was volleyed home with aplomb by F2 Freestyler Jeremy Lynch.

The Soccer Aid World XI gave themselves a lifeline on 26 minutes when a cross from Dan Carter was collected by Robbie Keane, who managed to squeeze the ball past Seaman at the second attempt. The World XI thought they had restored parity two minutes later but Bolt’s finish was ruled out for offside.

Bolt’s side were not to be denied though and seconds before the break, as the ball ran loose in the box, ex-Reds star Veron finished brilliantly on the turn.

A flurry of second-half substitutions followed, but there was no let-up in the pace or entertainment level. After Darius Vassell had fired wide and Murs headed straight at substitute goalkeeper Nicky Byrne, the World XI went ahead on 57 minutes after a neatly worked one-two between Dutch masters Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf (a regular scorer in Soccer Aid), who finished past substitute England stopper David Harewood.

The biggest cheer of the night by far came when a certain Frenchman stepped back out onto the pitch on 73 minutes, indeed the whole stadium rose to acclaim King Eric, but he and his World XI side could not prevent England drawing level when a deflected Jamie Redknapp shot came back off the post and fell to former United striker Michael Owen to slot home.

A shoot-out would decide the game and costly misses from World XI stars Pietersen, Byrne and Christensen allowed Blake Harrison to win it for England much to the delight of the record crowd inside Old Trafford.

Soccer Aid for Unicef 2018 - The Line-ups

England: Seaman (Harewood 46); Farah (Vassell 46), Brown, Neville (Mack 81), Wright; Stephenson (McGuinness 54), Lewis (O’Connell 42) (Flintoff 70), Murphy (Redknapp 46), Murs (c) (Wicks 75); Lynch (Harrison 66), Bent (Owen 56).

Scorers: Bent  12, Lynch 17, Owen 82.

World XI: Van der Sar (Byrne 46); O’Carroll, Fongho, Stam (Makele 46), Pietersen, Carter (Pires 46); Compston (Christensen 77), Toure (Cantona 73), Veron (Seedorf 46) (Keane 81); Keane (Kluivert 46), Bolt (c).

Scorers: Keane 26, Veron 43, Seedorf 57. England won 4-3 on penalties.