Jul 092017

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LAHORE: The Fortress Stadium began filling up with football fans on Sunday ahead of the much-anticipated match involving “Ronaldinho and friends”. 

Seven top footballers from around the world, including Brazilian legend Ronaldinho and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for two exhibition matches in Karachi and Lahore.

Brazilian hero Ronaldinho, former Manchester United stalwart Giggs, former England goalkeeper David James, Dutch star George Boateng, former French players Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka and Portuguese player Luis Boa Morte are playing with a group of Pakistani footballers for two seven-a-side matches.

On Saturday night, in the packed Abdul Sattar Edhi stadium, Ronaldinho’s side won against the Giggs-led team with a final score of two goals in favour with one against.

Today’s match, the second leg of the seven-a-side series between ‘Ronaldinho-7’ and ‘Ryan Giggs-7’, will be played at Fortress Stadium, Lahore Cantt at 5pm.

Strict security arrangements have been put in place at the site of the venue, as well as the hotel where the international players will be lodged.

Sources said the Pakistani players left Karachi early morning while the international players departed later. Owing to a slight injury in Saturday’s game, Giggs may not be playing tonight’s match, sources added. 

Officials said gates of the stadium were opened at 2pm, adding that visitors are being allowed entry after showing their CNICs.

The two sides

Pakistani football stars Mohammad Rasool, Mohammad Essa, Aziz, Razik, Mohammad Adil, Adnan, Mohammad Ali and Ahmed along with foreign players Nicolas Anelka, George Boateng and David James are in Giggs` team.

Meanwhile, Yousuf Butt, Saddam Hussain, Kaleemullah, Saadullah, Hassan Bashir, Riaz, Kamran along with Boa Morte, Robert Pires are in ‘Ronaldinho-7’.

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