Author: Wala Amara When it comes to serving as a tool to make changes in the world, the virtues of sport has proven time and time again that it has the magic of tackling some of the world’s biggest issues.
Wednesday night, MLS club New England Revolution hosted English Premier League giants Chelsea in a friendly game at the Gillette Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts.
The “Final Whistle on Hate” match between hosts New England Revolution and visitors Chelsea was organized to positively raise awareness against discrimination, anti-Semitism and hatred. The friendly game against the Revolution served as the Blues final competitive encounter before the UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal on May 29.
The “Final Whistle on Hate” game in Boston, MA raised an estimated $4 million that will be directed towards charitable organizations combatting against anti-Semitism around the globe.
“Today’s match is the next step in our campaign, raising money and awareness for initiatives that tackle discrimination, persecution and hatred, with a focus on anti-Semitism. The two teams united in a common belief that football has the power and responsibility to tackle some of the world’s biggest issues.”wrote Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Despite the routine victory from Chelsea, more than 27,000 fans were in attendance to witness the Blues register a 3-0 win over the New England Revolution, who are currently sitting bottom in the MLS Eastern Conference.
But during the night, it wasn’t the score that mattered the most, it was the reason behind both teams being there. It was bigger than just football. The fans showed up to witness some of the world’s most renowned superstar players, such as Eden Hazard, stand firmly for a positive cause that affects so many.“We came here to try to be a big example and make people understand everybody is the same. It doesn’t matter the skin color; it doesn’t matter the social class. Everybody should respect each other.”said Chelsea defender David Luiz.
Both Chelsea and New England Revolution club owners joined forces to donate $1 million each towards the Anti-Semitism charity fund. Both respective club owners were also present at the Gillette Stadium to watch the game live.
Chelsea took an early lead by Ross Barkley, who scored the first goal of the contest just three minutes after the kick-off. Thereafter, Sarri’s Blues then followed up by extending their lead to 2-0 with an exquisite header from Olivier Giroud; which was assisted by Pedro 27 minutes thereafter the combatively skilful Barkley opened the scoring for Chelsea.
Tremendous attempts were made by the New England Revolution to oppress Chelsea with long shots but a rocketed shot by Gonzalo Higuain from Willian’s low corner was deflected by Barkley goalwards in the 62nd minute of the game to advance the Blues lead to 3-0.
The ball circulated mostly in the middle of the park during the majority of the final passages of the game.However, Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek appeared to be hurt before leaving the pitch, limping under the assistance of the Chelsea medical staff and leaving the stadium in an injury boot shortly thereafter.
Chelsea youth academy Player of the Year, Conor Gallagher, replaced Loftus-Cheek, but the England midfielder’s injury imposed a serious concern for Sarri’s Chelsea just 12 days before the Blues UEFA Europa League final against Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
“I hope he (Loftus-Cheek) is all right. He’s in the best form of his career and we need him for the final.”said David Luiz on the England midfielder’s injury.
Chelsea’s manager Maurizio Sarri had already expressed his unwanted desire to travel to Boston, MA shortly after the Blues final Premier League game of the season against Leicester City. The Italian echoed a similar sentiment regarding potential injuries for Chelsea a number of days prior to the friendly game in Boston during training preparations for the club’s UEFA Europa League final showdown against Arsenal.