Soccer Aid at Old Trafford raises £5.5m for Unicef
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.
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.
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.
The King comes back! Gallery
Eric Cantona was among the legends playing with celebrities in the Soccer Aid 2018 match at Old Trafford. 👑⚽
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.