Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bhutia scores against Ballack's team

It was a night to remember for India captain Bhaichung Bhutia who stood out with his brace alongside some big names in world football in a charity match here at the Allianz Arena.

The Saturday night match was organised by former Dutch international Clarence Seedorf and Brazil striker Ronaldo to raise money for the 'Goal 4 Africa' project, which was inspired by Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela's dream of "Education for all -- all for education". Seedorf is also the brand ambassador for the 'Goal4Africa' project.

The match was played in true spirit as the two teams were name 'Edu' and 'Cation'.

Bhaichung turned out for Seedorf's side Edu, which lost 6-9 to Michael Ballack-led Cation. The Indian captain scored two and set up one for legendry Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and made his presence felt among the constellation of stars, who sweated out on the home turf of Bayern Munich for a noble cause.

The Indian forward, who played upfront, had to overcome a tough challenge from the solid Italian defender Gennaro Gattuso, something that Bhaichung could have never done with the national team.

Bhaichung also made some good moves and on one occasion set up Seedorf but the latter failed to get past Brazilian goalkeeper Nelson Dida.

A few minutes later, Bhaichung released Schumacher on the right and on receiving the return pass shot it wide.

In the 33rd minute came the much awaited moment when the Indian captain chested the ball and unleashed his powerful left footer to beat Dida from close range.

After the breather, Bhaichung came close to scoring again after being set-up by Schumacher. The Indian striker chased the ball and his resultant kick missed the bar by a whisker. Few minutes later, Seedorf laid the ball for the Indian star to place it in the net. This was Bhaichung's second goal for his losing team but for a noble cause.

The campaign hopes to raise more than $90m ( 45m) by 2010. Goal4Africa hopes to build a lasting legacy for the continent - using football, a game that is hugely popular across Africa, to help achieve its objective.

Fans will be encouraged to pledge money by text or online for every goal scored by their favourite team over the next two years.