'Disrespectful' UAE penalty taker could be suspended

Theyab Awana could be suspended or fined for his "disrespectful" back-heel penalty-kick goal during the UAE's 7-2 victory over Lebanon on Sunday, a national team official said.

Theyab Awana tumbles to the ground during the match against Lebanon on Sunday. He scored the resultant penalty with a back-heel.
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Theyab Awana could be suspended or fined for his "disrespectful" back-heel penalty-kick goal during the UAE's 7-2 victory over Lebanon on Sunday, a national team official said yesterday.

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"This should not have happened," said Esmaeel Rashed, the team manager. "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 said he and

, the head coach, and one or two others, will meet soon to decide if Awana should be punished, and how severely.

"There are many forms of punishment," Rashed said. "We could send him away from the team. We could make him pay a fine."

Awana's goal, perhaps unprecedented in world football, made him a popular subject on the internet yesterday, but Rashed described the 21-year-old

midfielder as being penitent.

"The player, he is very sorry. 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.

"I think he will learn from this moment. He's really, really upset and very worried. From when he was sitting with us today, he's blaming himself."

An angry Katanec made clear he wished the subject of the back-heel goal would go away.

"We will resolve this inside our team and there will be no more talking about it," the Slovenian said, adding that he was annoyed that "this is the first thing journalists want to know about the match".

He conceded that he was not happy about the execution of Awana's penalty, which came in the 78th minute and was the final goal of the lopsided game.

Awana came on as a substitute in the 70th minute, and was replaced 10 minutes later, two minutes after his penalty.

Katanec said: "This is not respect, OK? I am unhappy. My reaction was normal: I took him out."

Awana was taken down in the penalty area by the Lebanon defender Akram Maghrabi, and the Baniyas and Olympic team midfielder quickly picked up the ball and placed it on the spot, seeming to make clear he intended to take the penalty, even though teammate Hamdan Al Kamali earlier had taken and scored one.

Awana took four steps towards the spot, pivoting between his second and third step and planting his left foot next to the ball on the final step, showing his back to the goalkeeper.

He raised his right foot and brought it down, heel first, on the ball, hitting it with fairly crisp pace to the left of the keeper, Hassan Moghnieh, who seemed almost stunned by the ploy and hardly moved.

The referee, Ali Hassan of Bahrain, showed Awana a yellow card, although it was never clear what infraction Awana was guilty of, beyond perhaps the player's poor judgement. He did not celebrate unduly, and teammates hardly reacted as he jogged back towards the centre circle.

Katanec did not immediately speak to Awana as he came off the field.

His only visible reaction was to touch hands with the player as he came to the bench.

Awana has been a key member of several UAE age-group sides who have fared well in international competitions. He has been a regular in the Olympic team, which has advanced to Asian Football Confederation group play.

He is known for his speed and attacking skills up the right side of the field, and he seemed ready to challenge for a starting position with the national team until he suffered an injury in a friendly against Australia in January, just ahead of the Asian Cup.

He was called into the national side's training camp in Austria, and seemed to be pushing the veteran Ali Al Wehaibi for a place in the first XI.

He scored two goals in 20 league games with Baniyas last season.


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