Belfast Telegraph

Alan Shearer wins Battle of the Five-a-Sides for Sport Relief

Footballing legend Alan Shearer has won the Battle of the Five-a-Sides, when full-time was called on the 57-hour non-stop charity game.

The ex-England striker came out of retirement to head up a team of players from across the celebrity and television world to beat rival Robbie Savage and his star-studded team.

The continuous match - equivalent to playing an entire Premier League season for one club - kicked off on Thursday.

The gruelling endurance match was in aid of Sport Relief and saw the football pundits return to the pitch to each play for 12 hours straight alongside over 1,000 children and adults.

It had been supported by the Premier League who matched every £1 raised and is Sport Relief's biggest five-a-side football match.

So far the total stands at over £370,592 and is still rising.

When the final whistle was blown at Salford's MediaCityUK, Shearer who had captained the BBC's Match of the Day team, thanked everyone who had donated.

Meanwhile Savage, on behalf of BBC Radio 5 live, said it had been "challenging".

It was the second time Shearer had claimed victory over his opponent after taking part in 2014's the Battle of the Backsides in which the two players each raced to sit on 45,000 seats at Wembley Stadium.

Over the past three days the two footballers drafted in musician Danny Jones, presenter Rachel Riley and musician Josh Cuthbert - each playing a 12-hour stint as they battled through the wind, rain and snow.

When the footballing duo were not showing off their fancy footwork they took their place in the dugout to manage a squad of players throughout the 57 hours.

The event saw an array of football take place - not only men, women and children, but also wheelchair, walking and even crab football.

Commenting on his win Shearer said: "It was quite close at points throughout the 57 hours but Team Shearer came through in the second half of the epic match to pick up the trophy once again.

"What a three days it has been, thank you to everyone that has played and to the public for donating to Sport Relief - the money raised is going to make a massive difference in the UK and across the world."

Savage added: "It has been a challenging but amazing three days, I'm very proud of Team Savage, there were times when I was sure we'd be taking that trophy home. Thanks to everyone for their amazing support which is what Sport Relief is all about, getting together to raise some cash and feel proud."

Television presenter and Manchester United fan Rachel Riley said it had been "a pleasure to be involved in this epic football challenge, especially as it was right across the river from Old Trafford".

She added: "I wasn't sure at one point that I'd be able to carry on for the full 12 hours but the support from the public has been amazing and helped get me through to the end."

The final goal score was Shearer 547 to Savage's 529.

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