Football: Masters roll back the years to entertain Kallang faithful

Liverpool masters captain Robbie Fowler attempts to score against Singapore goalie Rezal Hassan.
Liverpool masters captain Robbie Fowler attempts to score against Singapore goalie Rezal Hassan.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Aleksandar Duric celebrates after scoring against Arsenal.
Aleksandar Duric celebrates after scoring against Arsenal.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Singapore's Steven Tan square off with Liverpool masters' Patrik Berger.
Singapore's Steven Tan square off with Liverpool masters' Patrik Berger.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Liverpool emerged victorious at the Battle of the Masters .
Liverpool emerged victorious at the Battle of the Masters .ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Liverpool captain Robbie Fowler argues with Arsenal's Lauren.
Liverpool captain Robbie Fowler argues with Arsenal's Lauren.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Liverpool's Luis Garcia fights for the ball with Arsenal's Nigel Winterburn.
Liverpool's Luis Garcia fights for the ball with Arsenal's Nigel Winterburn.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The iconic dome of the National Stadium played host to the football stars of yesteryear as fans cheered to their heroes from the past in Saturday (Nov 11) evening's Battle of the Masters event.

The veterans' tournament featured three matches - Singapore v Arsenal, Singapore v Liverpool and Liverpool v Arsenal, with each 40-minute game to be played over two halves.

And it was the Reds who won the tournament after beating the Lions 5-0 and drawing 2-2 with the Gunners.

In the evening's first game, the veteran Lions earned the cheers of the crowd after a gutsy 1-1 draw against the Gunners.

The North London club led through former France international Robert Pires, who slipped past the defence to side-foot the ball beyond the fingertips of goalkeeper Rezal Hassan in the 19th minute but with four minutes left, Noh Alam Shah drilled a low ball into the box for fellow striker Aleksandar Duric to finish from close range.

But the Singapore Masters suffered a 0-5 hammering at the hands of their Liverpool counterparts in the second game.

Although goalkeeper Rezal Hassan brought loud cheers from the crowd by saving Jari Litmanen's 10th-minute penalty, the Reds surged forward to score through Steve McManaman, an own goal, Luis Garcia, Emile Heskey and a penalty that was blasted home by goalkeeper David James.

In the evening's final game, Liverpool drew 2-2 with Arsenal.

Once again, Pires opened the scoring after Omer Riza's cut-back in the fifth minute. But the men from Anfield replied just four minutes later through a volley from Heskey. And in the 13th minute, midfielder David Thompson ran unopposed into Arsenal's half before hitting a fierce shot from 25m that found the net.

But in the final minute, Robbie Fowler argued with Lauren after a robust tackle and as the Reds lost focus, Arsenal took a quick free kick that left Pires free to tap into an open goal to level the scores.