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Good news and tragedy in Mideast football this week Open in fullscreen

Uri Levy

Good news and tragedy in Mideast football this week

A tragic end to the week with a car bomb targeting Vodaphone arena, Istanbul [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2016

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Last night, Middle Eastern football weekend closed with a tragedy.

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Football
Last night, Middle Eastern football weekend closed with a tragedy.

After a Turkish Super Lig’ clash between Beşiktaş and Bursaspor, which the champions won 2-1 thanks to a brace by Cenk Tuson, two explosions took place outside of the Vodafone Arena - Beşiktaş’ home stadium. 

Reportedly, one was a car bomb, and the second who came few moments later was a suicide attacker in a park nearby. 29 were killed and 166 are injured, according to Turkish official sources. The network was quickly filled with disturbing videos, but with encouraging and identifying gestures as well, from few of world football’s biggest stars.

Yet again, another shocking terror event takes football as a hostage. May all victims may rest in peace.

Football-wise this weekend was full of quality football in many parts of the region.

In Qatar, the Clásico between Al-Rayyan and Al-Sadd was played Wednesday, and what a night it was. Al-Sadd hammered champions Al-Rayyan with a spectacular show by all of its big stars.

The party started on the 43rd minute when Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored sharply. Bounedjah added another one, Xavi curled in beautifully a typical free kick, Jugurtha Hamroun – another Algerian talent - scored too and Bounedjah completed a perfect hat-trick on the 73rd minute. 5-0 at final whistle, Al-Sadd looks frightening.

On Thursday, Israeli Hapoel Be’er Sheva gained a spectacular 1-1 result in Southampton, which gained the club a spot in the Europa League knock-out stage. Maor Buzaglo scored the goal for the most southern club to take part in a European competition, while two Israeli-Palestinian stars Maharan Radi and Mohammed Ghadir, starred and contributed for the terrific display.

Omar 'Amoory' Abdulrahman announced his participation in a friendly between Saudi side Al-Ahli Jeddah and FC Barcelona in Doha, Qatar

UAE

Later on that evening two interesting news came out from the UAE.

Omar ‘Amoory’ Abdulrahman announced his participation in a friendly between Saudi side Al-Ahli Jeddah and FC Barcelona in Doha, Qatar. Qatar Airways organised the match that is schdueled for Tuesday the 13.12.2016, which will gather Lionel Messi and Abdulrahman on the same pitch for the first time ever. ‘The original Messi vs the Arab Messi’. Must be entertaining.

The second news dealt with the claim that the UAE FA considers starting a privatisation process at its football clubs and football infrastructure. After a same process is reportedly about to kick start in Saudi Arabia, it will be interesting to watch the changes and developments of football administrative culture at the region.

Still at the UAE, the Clásico of the Emirates was played in Friday. Al-Ain, still recovering from the Asian Champions League failure, struggled against Al-Wahda at the latter stadium in Abu Dhabi. Hungarian Balázs Dzsudzsák scored first for the hosts against the purple side. Saeed Al-Kahtiri scored just one minute after coming off the bench for disappointing Brazilian Douglas. A red card by Ismael Ahmed made Al-Ain going backwards, and the match concluded in 1-1, what became beneficial for Al-Jazira, who conquered the first spot at the table. The real attraction at the match though was to watch all three Abdulrahman brothers playing together for their club. Family first.

On Friday, some bad news have hit Palestinian football. The AFC ranked Palestine on 7th place on the ASEAN Zone. This fact has huge implications on the participation of Palestinian clubs in the Asian venue – the AFC Cup.

From a state where Palestine enjoyed a secured spot in the group stage for the West Bank Champions and a spot in the preliminary round for the Palestine Cup winners from West Bank or Gaza, the Asian Confederation deducted it only to one spot in the preliminary round – as Oman’s FA moved on to the 6th place, and will enjoy the other spot.

Last season Ahli Al-Khaleel and Dhariah tied twice and won twice against Omani teams Fanja and Oruba, but the misty system of the AFC has kept its unfair decision.

Palestine Cup winners, Ahli Al-Khaleel, won’t take part in the continental competition, and city rival and reigning champions Shabab Al-Khaleel will play in the preliminary round against no other than – Omani side Suwaiq Club – in what will be a fight for a spot in the AFC Cup group stages, but also prestige, justice and honor.

Talking about Shabab, the team met West Bank Premier League’ leaders, Thagafi Tulkarem, and for the first time this season looked like a united, serious team and title contenders. Ashraf Nu’man, who announced his return to the national team, scored two magnificent goals and captain Haithem Deeb scored another one in what was a complete display by the Hebronites, in front of 7,500 thousand fans at Hussein Bin Ali stadium in Hebron. Thagafi conceded its first loss this season, what gave Hilal Al-Quds a two point lead at the top of table.

Lately, Shabab have decided to give some young talents from the academy a chance in the first team, and maybe this move will convert the club’ season in the West Bank Premier League.

Goals, Clásicos, AFC allegedly corrupted treatment for weak associations and Omar Abdulrahman’ season are all important, but this week our minds and thoughts should be with the injured ,victims and their families from Istanbul. May these events will stop,  and stop harming innocent people who only came to enjoy some football. Rest in Peace.

Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here

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