Football: Blackout no issue as night screening is a hit

Manchester United supporters cheering after their team opened the scoring against Liverpool last night. Close to 1,000 people gathered to catch the live telecast at the lawn in front of Victoria Memorial Hall.
Manchester United supporters cheering after their team opened the scoring against Liverpool last night. Close to 1,000 people gathered to catch the live telecast at the lawn in front of Victoria Memorial Hall.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

There was a momentary hush followed by howls and hisses. David de Gea had collected the ball and was about to thump it upfield before images on the big screen of English's football grudge match blacked out.

By the time live transmission resumed on the screen seconds later, Marcus Rashford had already wheeled away in delight, celebrating his opening strike in the 2-1 win over Liverpool last night.

The England forward bagged a brace, courtesy of openings created by Romelu Lukaku before defender Eric Bailly sliced into his own net to set up a tense finish.

That telecast glitch proved to be the only letdown as both sets of fans - close to 1,000 - watched intently, cheered passionately. Many swigged on fizzy liquid gold in the screening organised by Thai brewery Chang Beer at the lawn in front of Victoria Memorial Hall.

Apart from benches and tables for a beer-garden atmosphere, families also came with picnic mats. Children had impromptu kickabouts on the turf.

For the satisfied United fans, there were no complaints about the hospitality and Jose Mourinho's cynical and clinical football.

"Mourinho definitely outwitted (Jurgen) Klopp tonight," said Damon Chiang, a 22-year-old undergraduate and a happy Red Devil.

"Liverpool have the stronger attack and United got their tactics right by neutralising the midfield and using Lukaku's physical power to bulldoze the Reds' defence.

"After Rashford scored twice, it was just a matter of closing shop and seeing the game through."

For Subramaniam Selvakumar, a 47-year-old chef, he could only count the damage the Old Trafford defeat had done to the Reds' Champions League prospects.

The Merseysiders are third and five points behind second-placed United with eight games left.

He lamented: "Liverpool just could not cope with Man U's direct approach. Even after the signing of (Virgil) van Dijk, it could not stop the high balls.

"With this loss, it looks like it is United who will take second place in the EPL now."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'Blackout no issue as night screening is a hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe