Some 27,000 fans came dressed in red for The Castlewood Group Battle of the Reds 2015 yesterday evening, and it was the Merseyside supporters who cheered the Liverpool Masters to a 2-0 win at the National Stadium.
The match began with a sombre one minute’s silence to mark the terror that rocked Paris last night – the home of former Manchester United player Louis Saha.
Starting with a classic 4-4-2 formation, Liverpool maintained most of the possession in the middle of the park, with neither side making a break during the first 10 minutes. Encouraged by the reverberation of the ‘Kallang Wave’ through the stadium, it was the Liverpool Masters who broke the duck with the first goal of the evening – a lovely cross from Jan Kromkramp on the right found Luis Garcia’s head who popped it past Nick Culkin.
The second half began with Manchester United Masters playing at a quicker pace, but were just not clinical enough in the box. Working on the counter-attack, Gillespie, Saha and Blomqvist threatened but did not trouble the stalwart defence of Liverpool led by Champions League winner Jerzy Dudek.
With experience in Singapore on their side, the Liverpool Masters continued troubling their derby rivals as they reverted to their standard way of football – one touch passing. A second goal blasted into the back of the net by Dietmar Hamann in the 70thminute proved too much for the Manchester United Masters as the match ended with a 2-0 win to the Reds.
Proud of the team that he managed, Ian Rush, who also played and showed no sign of slowing down, said “The history of the two clubs is absolutely fantastic, and it’s always great to come to this part of the world and entertain the supporters. The fans of Liverpool and Manchester United in this part of the world are incredible, and just seeing the amount of support and turnout made us want to win for them. We can be friends after this but on the pitch we are enemies who want to win simply because of the great support.”
“The atmosphere this evening has been absolutely brilliant and shows how the Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry is truly one of the greatest in the world. The players were thrilled to be reliving the rivalry in such an iconic venue as the National Stadium, and we hope it’s been equally great for the fans” said Steve Black, CEO of organiser Masters Football Asia.
Sharing similar sentiments, Chris Comer, CEO of sponsor Castlewood Group said, “It has been a fantastic night, and I cannot hide how proud I am that my home team of Liverpool have taken the trophy! Each year, the event has been bigger and better, and it will be hard to top it next year. We look forward to sponsoring more sporting events of this calibre to further establish Singapore as a global sports hub.”