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Robbie Keane scores, Cantona returns to Old Trafford but England win Soccer Aid on penalties

Neil from The Inbetweeners bagged the winning spot-kick as £5 million was raised for Unicef last night.

The victorious England team celebrate their win.
The victorious England team celebrate their win.
Image: Martin Rickett

LAST NIGHT SAW Old Trafford host the annual Soccer Aid charity match with 71,965 fans showing up at Manchester United’s home ground to support the charity event.

Originally set up in 2006, the game pits two teams made up of ex-pros and celebrities against one another in aid of Unicef, with £5 million raised on the evening.

This year, the England team was managed by Sam Allardyce and Robbie Williams, while the likes of David Seaman, Phil Neville, Wes Brown, Danny Murphy, Jamie Redknapp and Michael Owen played alongside Olympic champion Mo Farah, ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff, Homelands actor Damian Lewis, reality TV’s Mark Wright and pop singer Olly Murs.

They faced a World XI which included star names such as Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Juan Sebastian Veron, Robbie Keane, Clarence Seedorf, Robert Pires and Patrick Kluivert, as well as sprint legend Usain Bolt, All-Black Dan Carter and Westlife’s Nicky Byrne.

2018 UNICEF Soccer Aid - Old Trafford Bent, Farah and Murs after England's first goal, and (left) World XI's Jaap Stam. Source: Martin Rickett

Ex-Spurs and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent opened the scoring for England, before F2 Freestyler Jez Lynch put the home side 2-0 up, but Ireland’s all-time goalscorer Robbie Keane, playing up front alongside Bolt, then pulled one back.

Argentine midfielder Veron, who endured a difficult time at United during his playing days, restored parity with a smart finish, and the visitors went ahead after Dutch legends Seedorf and Kluivert combining well to make it 3-2.

However, when Redknapp’s deflected effort struck the post, fellow England substitute Owen was on-hand to follow up and draw the game level again.

2018 UNICEF Soccer Aid - Old Trafford Cantona joins the action. Source: Martin Rickett

United great Eric Cantona, who managed the Rest of the World, brought himself on in the second half and received the biggest cheer of the evening, but it was England who won in a penalty shootout.

Misses by ex-Leeds United goalkeeper and 2FM presenter Byrne, cricketer Kevin Pietersen and Star Wars actor Hayden Christensen allowed Blake Harrison, who played Neil in comedy series The Inbetweeners score the winning spot-kick.

2018 UNICEF Soccer Aid - Old Trafford Blake Harrison scores his penalty. Source: Martin Rickett

Here are the highlights:

Source: Fantasy Football/YouTube

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Ben Blake

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