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Chelsea bow out in the group stage of the Barbados Legends Invitational

Another group stage failure? Di Matteo OUT!

Richard Heathcote

Information is a bit scarce on this one, but I was intrigued by this amazing picture I happened across on Twitter:

Yeah. I KNOW! Bernard Lambourde; Ken Monkou; Dennis Wise; Gianfranco Zola; Roberto Di Matteo; Marco Ambrosio; Gus Poyet; Tore Andre Flo. So that's three legends, four heroes, and one crappy goalkeeper by my count.

Judging by their attire, they didn't just come together by accident - then again, I wouldn't blame anybody for following Zola around like a lost puppy-dog. It turns out they were all there for the Barbados Legends Football Tournament, an event in which they placed second last time around, losing to Manchester United and their fearsome duo of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole in the final.

Now in its third edition, the invitational tournament pits eight teams of five-a-side Premier League legends against each other. Two groups of four decide the four semifinalists, who then play single elimination for a chance at a trophy and some champaign celebrations. United had won the inaugural tournament as well; would a new champion emerge this time?

And so Chelsea and six other challengers set out to dethrone the United team of Pilkington, May, Clegg, Lee Martin, Dion Dublin, Yorke, Thornley, and cricketer Brian Lara.

Arsenal: Vince Bartram (GK), Jimmy Carter, David Hillier, Michael Thomas, Ian Selley, Omer Riza, Luis Boa Morte, Stefan Schwartz
Caribbean All-stars: Clayton Ince (GK), Dennis Lawrence, Russell Latapy, Stern John, Fitzroy Simpson, Paul Hall, Marcus Gayle, Deon Burton
Everton: Steve Simonsen (GK), Alan Stubbs, John Collins, Steve Watson, Lee Carsley, Kevin Kilbane, Francis Jeffers, Marcus Bent
Liverpool: Tony Warner (GK), Stephane Henchoz, Steve Harkness, David Thompson, Jari Litmanen, Neil Mellor, Robbie Fowler, Stan Collymore
PFA All-stars: Alan Fettis (GK), Michel Salgado, Rui Marques, Ugo Ehiogu, Michael Mols, Mark Walters, Kevin Davies, Pierre van Hoojidonk
Spurs: Radek Cerny (GK), Richard Gough, Andy Sinton, David Howells, Stephen Clemence, Paul Walsh, Les Ferdinand, Teddy Sheringham

If this sounds like too much fun ... well ... that's because it is.

On paper, I think we can easily argue that Chelsea were one of the favorites. Liverpool's trio of Litmanen, Fowler, and Collymore were no joke either, while the Caribbean All-stars could theoretically enjoy home field advantage.

From what I've been able to piece together from Twitter - mostly from @MirrorFootball whose Wi-Fi issues yesterday left a big gap in the already sparse coverage - Chelsea started well. Drawn in a group with United, Liverpool, and PFA All-stars, their first match was against the defending champions. Inspired by Gianfranco Zola (suprise!), the legends in Blue ran out 5-3 winners. But there were dark clouds on the horizon.

Now Zola-less, a 4-4 draw with Liverpool was followed by a shock 3-2 loss to PFA All-stars the next morning. Combined with Liverpool's dismantling of United by a five-goal margin, Chelsea were third in the group and this time, there was no Europa League to drop into.

Liverpool waltzed past Arsenal in the semi but fell at the final hurdle to the half-Trinidadian, half-Jamaican Caribbean All-stars, Stern John netting the winner in a 4-3 nailbiter. The winners even got a congratulatory tweet from the British High Commissioner, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.

While I don't have any video of this year's event, here's a highlight package, mostly of Chelsea and United, from the previous edition. Enjoy:

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