No stopping all stars
STERN JOHN and the Caribbean All Stars shone brightly during the just ended two-day British Airways Barbados Football Legends tournament.
The big Trinidadian striker completed a hat-trick with a superb last-minute goal to give the All Stars a well-deserved 4-3 victory over Liverpool Masters in the final at Kensington Oval last Saturday night.
It climaxed an outstanding match for the former Sunderland front man, who had combined with Player Of The Tournament Russell Latapy to give the winners a quick 3-0 lead.
Even though Liverpool goalkeeper Tony Warner saved a Deon Burton penalty, the match was far from over as Robbie Fowler enginereed a fightback by the Anfield side, bringing back memories of the 2005 Champions League final when they came from behind to snatch the title by defeating AC Milan 4-3.
Liverpool were a bit fortunate to be awarded a penalty, which was converted by Fowler and duly grabbed the equalizer from a well-orchestrated build-up as Steve Harkness scored in Ince’s far corner.
However, John had the final say, showing why he is regarded as one of the best strikers to come from the Caribbean in the last decade.
After the match, Caribbean All Stars’ captain Paul Hall, the former Jamaica and Coventry player, told MIDWEEK?SPORT?he was extremely proud of the team, which also included Fitzroy Simpson, Dennis Lawrence, Marcus Gayle and goalkeeper Clayton Ince.
“We couldn’t win it last year, so we went one better, got to the final and saw it through. You have to play against some really good teams and you have to beat some really good teams to get through to this final,” Hall said.
“We played against Manchester United last year, tried to beat them, couldn’t get there so beating Liverpool is the next best thing,” Hall said.
Hall lauded the performance of Ince between the uprights, noting he got injured in the first game but never stopped playing.
“He was playing all the way through the tournament with an injury, so credit goes to him. We had no subs at the end so we were just playing with six players,” Hall said.
Earlier, in the semi-finals, the Caribbean All Stars defeated the Professional Football Association’s All Stars 3-2 while Liverpool trounced Arsenal 3-0.
The tournament featured teams from?Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, the Caribbean All Stars, Liverpool, Professional Football Association All Stars and Tottenham Hotspur.
It attracted former players of the calibre of Gianfranco Zola, Gus Poyet, Michel Salgado, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Mols, Luis Boa Morte, Roberto Di Matteo, Dennis Wise and Dwight Yorke.
For the second straight year, former West Indies cricket captain Brian?Lara represented Manchester United.