BOSTON – The ball cleared the visitor’s bullpen and landed in the bleachers, just like so many other line drives in Fenway Park’s long history.

But this was the wrong time — and the wrong sport — to go yard.

Sporting Lisbon forward Liedson cleared the crossbar and the baseball bullpen in the sixth round of a tiebreaker, and Paul McGowan followed with the winner Wednesday night as Glasgow Celtic won 6-5 in penalty kicks in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge.

An announced crowd of 32,162 came out on a balmy night to see soccer return to the oldest ballpark in the major leagues for the first time since Pele played at Fenway 42 years ago.

Taking advantage of a trip that sent the baseball team to the West Coast for 10 games, the Red Sox imported the two European clubs for the exhibition and stretched a soccer field from the third-base line to right field. Sod covered the mound and most of the infield.

With chants of “Let’s go, Celtic!” bouncing around the old ballpark — a reminder of Boston’s NBA glory — the Scottish club took the lead after Georgios Samaras was awarded a penalty kick after being tripped in the box by Daniel Carrico. Goalkeeper Vitor Golas guessed and dived right, but the kick went to his left and into the net.

Sporting tied it in the 82nd minute when Diogo Salomao’s header hit the crossbar and bounced right back out to Helder Postiga, who headed it back in for the equalizer. Sporting had a chance to take the lead in the 86th minute, but Liedson’s header went just wide of an unprotected side of the net.

It stayed even through the end of regulation and the first five rounds of the penalty-kick tiebreaker when each of the first 10 attempts was marked as successful with a check mark on the Green Monster’s manual scoreboard. Liedson hung the first red “X” in the sixth-inning slot when he put his attempt over the crossbar.


GABRIEL OBERTAN scored in the 76th minute to give Premier League powerhouse Manchester United a 1-0 victory against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in a friendly at Philadelphia.

Danny Welbeck took the ball off Amobi Okugo of Philadelphia and passed to Obertan, who sent his shot past goalkeeper Brian Perk.

Manchester United played without Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, among other stars, during the second leg of its North American tour. Still, a large throng of the announced crowd of 44,213 at Lincoln Financial Field donned red and white shirts to cheer on the English club.

United opened its four-match trip with a 3-1 win over Scottish Premier League club Celtic last Friday in Toronto. It will play the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday before concluding its trip July 28 in Houston against the MLS All-Stars.


MANCHESTER CITY Manager Roberto Mancini said he may be interested in signing Landon Donovan from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

Donovan, a 28-year-old midfielder, had a successful 10-week loan spell at Premier League team Everton last season and was the leading scorer for the United States at the World Cup with three goals.

“Donovan is a good player. Could be possible,” Mancini said. “The market is open until the end of August. Could be.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said last week he doesn’t intend to sell Donovan, who agreed in December a four-year contract with MLS that pays him a base salary this year of $2.05 million.


JOE COLE completed his move to Liverpool after passing a medical examination as Manager Roy Hodgson began to rebuild the former Premier League power.


JOSE PEDROSO received a 27-game ban for attempting to choke a referee during a Chilean second-division match.

The governing body of Chile’s professional league said the Rangers defender was banned 20 games for attempting to choke referee Marcelo Miranda, five for a second attempt and two for the red card Pedroso received that ignited the outburst.


THE ROSE Bowl was selected as the site of next year’s final of the Gold Cup, the football championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.