Today (15th June, 2013) United Glasgow and a Green Brigade select welcomed Palestinian footballer and hunger-striker Mahmoud Sarsak to Scotland. The occasion, a highly entertaining fundraising football match at Petershill Juniors stadium in Springburn. The weather unfortunately left a lot to be desired, but still a significant crowd of over a hundred turned out to watch what turned out to be an engaging game of football.
The sixty-minute game began at a high tempo, with neither side making any real goal-scoring opportunities until ten minutes in, when an error by the United Glasgow centre half, let in the very impressive Green Brigade striker (#7) who slotted the ball home with great aplomb to put them 1-0 up. Sarsak was then introduced – in the Green Brigade top for the first half – he immediately made an impact with an evident high skill level, showing some great touches and vision, to spray passes about the pitch. The game continued at the high tempo with United Glasgow having the larger share of possession and goal-scoring opportunities – hitting the post and having a shot stopped on the line, with what could only be described as a blatant handball (everyone in the stadium of this opinion, apart from the referee!). Half time arrived with United Glasgow still failing to equalise.
Half-Time; Green Brigade Select 1 – 0 United Glasgow F.C
The second half began with United Glasgow coming out of the traps very quickly and hence controlling the game from the outset. The midfield battle was a great tussle and was hugely enjoyable to watch for the neutral, but the United Glasgow midfield definitely began to show their superior stamina levels as gaps appeared in the Green Brigade’s central block of 4. The equaliser eventually came after ten minutes of the second half, with a long ball from the United Glasgow centre half which eventually made its way through to the big target man (#9) who struck home with a fantastic volley past the on-coming keeper into the top right hand corner. Shortly after the equaliser; Sarsak was greeted back onto the field – this time in a United Glasgow top. As before, he made an immediate impact with a superb self-made goal. Efficiently collecting the ball in the left hand corner, beating two players and driving across the edge of the 18-yard box before driving home a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner, thus left the Green Brigade goalkeeper no chance. Sarsak’s superior skill levels showed themselves throughout with him outshining everyone on the park – and even ‘chancing his arm’ with a shot from 40 yards out, which unfortunately, ended up well over the fence. He added the third, his second and the game killing goal, with about ten minutes to go. This was a result of a poor clearance by the United Glasgow defence, it slid through the Green Brigade defence leaving a straight foot-race between Sarsak and the defender – which was only ever going finish with Sarsak with the ball at his feet. He took the ball round the on-rushing Green Brigade keeper, before beating the defender who had tucked-in behind onto the goal-line and completed the run by ‘showboating’ as he tapped the ball over the line.
Full-Time; Green Brigade Select 1 – 3 United Glasgow F.C
The game, which was organised as part of Sarsak’s UK wide tour, was played in a great spirit with fans enjoying themselves and players giving their all. It was a great occasion with fans (including members of the Lajee Centre) showing direct solidarity with Mahmoud and the Palestinian people in partnership with the local community of the north east of the city.