Backheel penalty goes viral but player could be banned
Theyab Awana’s inventiveness may have fooled the keeper, but his manager is furious (with video)
Goalkeepers often say that the key to guessing which way a player is going to hit a penalty is to read their eyes. If that's true, then maybe Theyab Awana has worked out how to take the perfect penalty: don't look.
The 21-year-old was playing for the United Arab Emirates against Lebanon at the weekend when his side won a 78th minute spot kick and he was chosen to take it.
With his side already 6-2 up he chose to do something a little different and as he ran up to take the penalty he turned at the last minute and backheeled his shot past a bemused goalkeeper and into the net.
Now the blogosphere is abuzz with Awana's remarkable inventiveness from the spot, and video of his effort has gone viral.
It wasn't the most powerful shot, admittedly, but it certainly confused the keeper.
Awana was nonchalant in his celebrations, but it seems his team manager was a little more irate, as were his opponents. Having only come on as a sub in the 70th minute, the player was taken off two minutes after the goal. "This should not have happened," said UAE boss Esmaeel Rashed after the match. "I think what happened is disrespectful."
"We cannot accept anyone in our team who does not respect the opponent and does not respect the people who are working, or the supporters," he added.
"The player, he is very sorry," Rashed concluded. "He said: 'I did wrong. I made a mistake. Tell the team I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry I did this thing.' In the end, he's young, but he has to know what are the good things and the bad things."
Awana now faces the prospect of either a fine or ban. With great footballing innovation being treated with such harsh punishments, don't expect Awana's penalty-taking trickery to catch on any time soon. ·