Star-studded Cherkizovo. Russia wins over Team Worldwide.

Star-studded Cherkizovo. Russia wins over Team Worldwide.

Team Russia (veterans) — Team Worldwide (veterans) – 3:2

Goals: Smertin, 21 (1:0). Bulykin, 67 (2:0).  Seedorf, 70 (2:1).  Vyazmikin,75 (3:1).  Zamorano, 79 (3:2).

Russia, first half (40 minutes):  Dasayev (Filimonov, 11), Smertin, Onopko, Sharonov, Yevseyev, Dvorkovich, Kobelev, Alenichev, Titov, Tikhonov, Mijatović.

Russia, second half:  Filimonov, Smertin, Khokhlov, Leonchenko, Kornaukhov, Gladilin, Aldonin, Semshov, Bulykin, Vyazmikin, Shirko.  Skorobogatko and Medzhidov played as substitutes.

Team Worldwide:  Dida (Westerfeld, 65), Šimić (Córdoba, 41), Hierro, Campbell (Korneev, 56), Serginho, Zanetti (Esaias, 67), Karembeu, Seedorf, Davids (Zamorano, 65), Bebeto (Trezeguet, 24), Zamorano (Yorke, 18).

Alexander PROSVETOV

There are no dimmed stars among world champions and victors in the Champions League.  Even as they head down toward the horizon, they remain headliners and heroes.  And the ones that took part in Football Stars and Russian Children, the Saturday match at Lokomotiv, are still shining brightly.  The match was organized by Russia’s PERI Charitable Foundation and the international Kick Off for Good campaign, one of whose founders is Clarence Seedorf.  He is a Dutch footballer who holds the unique distinction of winning the Champions League with three different teams: Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan.

Although the Otkrytie Arena featured the Russia-Lithuania match that Saturday, the turnout at Lokomotiv was not bad.  A good many national championship matches there have had the same number of spectators.  Before the starting whistle, a minute of silence was observed in memory of Johan Cruyff.

Seedorf came onto the field wearing the captain’s armband, and there were three world champions with him in the starting lineup:  two Brazilians, Bebeto (1994) and Dida (2002), and Karembeu from France (1998).  By the middle of the first half another champion, Trezeguet, who was victorious in the World Cup in 1998 and in the Euro 2002 Finals joined the team.  His career as a footballer had concluded just a year ago, and this Frenchman was a standout in the second half with a beautiful overhead kick, although the goalkeeper saved it.

The Russians did not boast titles like those, but they did have a winner in the Champions League and a UEFA Cup champion on their side.  Alenichev, the head trainer for Spartak, was in midfield with Dinamo’s head trainer, Kobelev, and his ex-teammates from Spartak, Titov and Tikhonov.

From the start of the match the Spartak trio set up such a spinning carousel around the opposing team’s goal that it was obvious these men had not forgotten a thing.  If you have once mastered riding a bicycle, then you just get on again and ride away.  You can tell that coaching—and the whole Russian midfield are involved, although for different teams—keeps people in shape.

Team Worldwide had its turn at a killer play, but when Zamorano had a header from a cross from Davids, it missed the goal.  That was why Dasayev, who had not allowed in any goals, was soon replaced.  Later on, Yorke missed poking the ball in from just a metre away after two attempts to get it past Filimonov in the Russian goal.  Filimonov had played the previous season for Arsenal Tula in the Russian Premier League.  Before that Smertin, the captain of Team Russia, had a shot from outside the penalty area and the ball deflected off Serginho into the net.  Valery Gazzaev, head coach for the Russians, sported a smile under his mustache just as if the match had been an official one.

There were also some non-professional footballers on the home team.  Vice-premier of the RF Arkady Dvorkovich showed excellent form on the right side of midfield (like Onopko, he was back on the field in the second half when the Russians made a series of substitutions).   However, the home team’s threatening attacks in the 40-minute first half were carried out by an international footballer—the Serb, Mijatović.  In 1998 he created a goal for Davids in the final of the Champions League that brought victory to Real Madrid over Juventus, in a team which also included Seedorf, Hierro and Karembeu.   At Cherkizovo a shot during the first half by Mijatović, off a direct pass from Yevseyev, forced Dida into a spectacular diving save that was just like old times in the true meaning of the words.

For the second half the Russians completely changed their lineup.  The other team did not have that option, and that put them at a disadvantage.  Nevertheless, the teams were still evenly matched.

Bulykin almost made it through to Team Worldwide’s goal, but Campbell stopped him with a faultless sliding tackle.   In the end Bulykin persisted and scored a goal by turning home Shirko’s pass.

The away team did not make good on their plays.  After Seedorf’s drive toward the undefended goal, Trezeguet took over—but Kornaukhov blocked the shot it with his head.  Yorke, same as in the first half, could not get around Filimonov.  Finally, Seedorf, who was one of the organizers of this benefit match, got the job done.  The teams both scored last minute goals, but in the end Olga Smorodskaya, president of Lokomotiv, gave the prize for winning the match to the Russian veterans.  The main purpose of such events, however, is to provide assistance to those in need, in this case to children brought up in our country’s orphanages.