MANILA, Philippines - It was a moonless and starless Saturday night but it was all dazzling and bright at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadim as the Los Angeles Galaxy battled the Philippine Azkals.
The final scoreline was Galaxy: 6, Azkals: 1. But that hardly mattered to some 9,000 spectators as they got to see English superstar David Beckham dazzle with nifty moves for a good 75 minutes.
He knocked down a volley at the 20th minute, opening up scoring. Crowd was momentarily quiet but immediately burst into loud cheers.
He displayed his dribbling and passing skills as the Galaxy showed Azkals how to set it from the midfield.
He wiggled free from diminutive but speedy Chieffy Caligdong to launch a cross from the right that was made good by Adam Cristman at the 62nd, stretching the lead to 4-1 for the Galaxy.
He had a few trips on the corner and a couple of free kicks, never consummated but nevertheless drawing shrieks each time.
The 36-year-old Beckham was sent back to bench at the 75th, his immediate move was take off his long-sleeved white Herbalife Galaxy jersey and present it to boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao at the VIP section. Beside Pacman, Jinkee was giggling like a teenage girl.
“I was enjoying myself out there. It’s a great trip out here,” said Beckham.
The global icon himself admitted getting starstruck with the presence of Pacquiao, who arrived to cheers halfway through the first 45 minutes.
“I couldn’t wait to get off the field. I am a huge fan because he’s a talented man, such a good person. I saw him walk in I wanted to meet him, take a picture with him, it’s exciting,” Becks mused.
Cristman, who came in as sub, led scoring with two goals (62nd and 87th). Posting one goal each like Beckham were Irish star Robbie Keane, whose header practically swayed the game to the Galaxy’s favor two minutes into the second half, and Gregg Berhalter who scored on a penalty on the 81st for the final score.
Phil Younghusband, who had the privilege of getting an autographed jersey from his idol Beckham in the post match press conference, delivered the lone goal for Phl, a left foot shot that cut LA’s lead to 2-1 at the 41st.
Coaches of the opposing sides agreed that the Azkals played a solid first 45 minutes but simply disintegrated in the last against a superior, more experienced opponent.