Singapore legends Aleksandar Duric (left) and V Sundramoorthy were all smiles at the IG Masters over the weekend, despite the Singapore Masters team failing to reach the lofty heights of last year where they reached the Final (photo by VOXSPORTS).
The Singapore Indoor Stadium brought back a scene of yesteryears as legends from the English Premier League and ex-Singapore internationals battled it out for the IG Masters Sixes Singapore Cup, an event which culminated in the Liverpool legends lifting the trophy after seeing off the challenge of the EPL All Stars in the final.
It was entertainment both on and off the court as fans showed their support for their respective teams, donning the colours of their favourite club and constantly cheering and singing team chants traditionally heard in the stands all around England.
Last years’ finalists, the Singapore Masters were putting up a tough fight against the Premier League clubs. While last year’s Singapore legend favourite Fandi did not feature in this year’s all star line-up, the Singapore Masters team were boosted by the presence of 43-year old Aleksander Duric who led the attack, and he was supported by former Singapore internationals such Rafi Ali and Nazri Nasir.
Duric, one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the world despite his age, feels that it is a one in a lifetime opportunity to be playing with players whom he onced could only watch from the television screen.
“I hope this Masters becomes a yearly calendar for Singapore. It would be good to see other teams coming down, like AC Milan or Ajax.” he mentioned.
The locals were honoured to have the presence of Malaysia Cup-League double triumphant Lim Tong Hai, 1998 Tiger Cup winner, goalkeeper Bashir Khan and former LionsXII coach V.Sundramoorthy, nicknamed the ‘Dazzler’ for his trickery and showboating skills, in their squad.
The ‘Dazzler’ however never had his foot into the court as he remained on the bench throughout the event.
English Premier League fans decked out in their favourite team's colours for the event, in support of their football idols (photo by VOXSPORTS).
The Singapore team was dealt a harsh lesson in their first two games where they experienced a 5-0 reverse to Liverpool, and a 5-2 loss to the All-star team, with Lim Tong Hai and Nazri Nasir finding the net in the second match.
But Duric and company did not go home winless as they won their final match of the round robin, coming out 5-4 victors against the Red Devils who had the newest and youngest players of the tournament, with 35-year old striker Louis Saha the pick of the bunch.
That match was arguably the best of the day for the fans, as the former Manchester legends kept bombarding the Lions fort, but the locals did not let their opponents have an easy ride as they ensured that Singapore’s pride was restored and walked away from the tournament with their heads held high.
Bernard Tan, a spectator who was rooting for Singapore, was pleased with how the team played despite not bettering their previous year standings; “The Singapore team did fairly well and was quite creative. It feels good to see them score today like they did many years ago.”
“Although it is disappointing not able t.o see Sundram play for the team, I am happy to see the rest representing Singapore again.” added Tan.
Liverpool Legends popped the champagne to celebrate, after overcoming EPL All-Stars in the final to be crowned as Champions for this year's IG Masters (photo by VOXSPORTS).
IG Masters Sixes Singapore Cup
Manchester United Masters 3:4 EPL All-stars
Singapore Masters 0:5 Liverpool Masters
EPL All-stars 5:2 Singapore Masters
Manchester United Masters 5:7 Liverpool Masters
EPL All-stars 3:5 Liverpool Masters
Manchester United Masters 4:5 Singapore Masters
*Final: Liverpool Masters 7:4 EPL All-stars