Celtic beats Sporting Lisbon in Fenway Park

Published Jul. 22, 2010 9:10 a.m. EDT

Paul McGowan converted the winning penalty as Scottish club Celtic beat Sporting Lisbon in a shootout after a 1-1 draw in their friendly Wednesday - the first football match at the Fenway Park baseball stadium in 42 years.

Sporting striker Liedson shot over the crossbar, leaving McGowan to slot home the winner before an announced crowd of 32,162, enjoying the first game at the home of the Boston Red Sox since Pele played there in 1968.

"It was different and we enjoyed it," Celtic coach Neil Lennon said. "It's one of the most famous stadiums in the world, and we played a football game in it."

Taking advantage of a road trip that sent the Red Sox to the West Coast for 10 games, Boston management imported the two European clubs for the exhibition game and stretched a football field from the third-base line to right field, with sod covering the pitcher's mound and most of the infield.


Celtic took the lead when Georgios Samaras was awarded a penalty after being tripped in the box by Daniel Carrico. The Greek striker sent goalkeeper Vitor Golas the wrong way.

Sporting equalized in the 82nd minute when Diogo Salomao's header hit the crossbar and bounced out to Helder Postiga, who headed it into the net. Sporting had a chance to take the lead in the 86th minute, but Liedson's header went just wide.

The game went to penalties, when each of the first 10 successful attempts was marked with a check mark on the manual scoreboard on the famous Green Monster outfield wall. Liedson, who played for Portugal in the World Cup, brought up the first red "X" when he skied his shot.

Golas guessed wrong on McGowan's shot, giving Celtic victory, and the ballpark loudspeakers began belting out "Dirty Water," the song that celebrates Red Sox victories. Fans revelled in the victory, with both the city of Boston and Celtic sharing strong Irish roots.

"The event and atmosphere absolutely exceeded our expectations," said Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, who said the club had not decided if more football is in Fenway's future. "Right now, we are enjoying the moment of this successful 'experiment."'

The trophy was a crystal football mounted on a base shaped like baseball's home plate.

"The atmosphere was fantastic," Lennon said. "The players have enjoyed experience of playing in America. It's not like a normal stadium, actually, with the Green Monster and so many people sitting on top of that. I liked the history and the tradition of the stadium."