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Unlucky defeat

FCB All-Stars thrill huge Old Trafford crowd

Paul Breitner, Phil Neville, Mark van Bommel, Ji-Sung Park, Daniel van Buyten, Paul Scholes, Roy Makaay, Dwight Yorke... a host of former world-class players gathered in Manchester on Sunday afternoon for a clash between some of the biggest names in the game when the Manchester United Legends faced the FC Bayern All-Stars. A vast 53,000 crowd at Old Trafford saw a highly entertaining encounter in which FCB were a shade unlucky to lose 4-2.

United made the brighter start and took a ninth-minute lead through Louis Saha. However, the Munich veterans upped the tempo and Alexander Zickler levelled after 16 minutes. The former FCB striker almost made it 2-0 on the half-hour after a superb dribble and shot but his effort came back off the post. The fans saw three more goals in the first period: Michael Tarnat powered a 43rd-minute free-kick past Edwin Van der Sar, but the Champions League winner’s strike was sandwiched by goals from Dwight Yorke (39) and Andy Cole (45), so that the sides turned round with United 3-2 in the lead.

Mexican waves rippled around Old Trafford in an equally enthralling second period, before Munich were out of luck for the second time when a Paulo Sergio free-kick on the hour crashed away to safety off the crossbar. The Bavarians pressed for an equaliser but Jesper Blomqvist rounded off the scoring at the other end with seven minutes to play. However, there were no real losers on the day as all proceeds from the match went to the Manchester United Foundation, a charity working on behalf of disadvantaged youths.

“The Manchester United Legends came to us at the Allianz Arena for a good cause last year [a 3-3 draw], and we’re here this year. This is how we breathe life into our partnership and friendship,” Breitner commented afterwards. “We’re very happy and proud of our fantastic friendship with Manchester United.”