UAE star Omar Abdulrahman scores ‘Panenka’ in friendly defeat to Barcelona
Omar Abdulrahman scored a ‘Panenka’ penalty against European heavyweights Barcelona on Tuesday night, in the inaugural Qatar Airways Cup in Doha.
The Al Ain and UAE star, last month crowned Asian player of the year, was given special dispensation to feature for Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli in the friendly at the Al Gharafa Stadium, playing 15 minutes either side of half time.
Abdulrahman’s introduction, just after the half hour, sparked Ahli into life, with the playmaker helping create and then scoring a penalty for the Saudi champions in the 50th minute. The award seemed dubious, but Abdulrahman coolly dispatched his spot-kick into the middle of the Barcelona net, much to the delight of the Doha crowd.
By that stage, though, Ahli were already 3-0 down courtesy of a goal each for Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymer. The Barcelona trio, known by the abbreviation “MSN”, struck within the opening 17 minutes and was later withdrawn by manager Luis Enrique moments before Abdulrahman took to the pitch.
The Al Ain captain did not enjoy the warmest of welcomes, though, with his first notable action being nutmegged by Barcelona midfielder Rafinha. However, Abdulrahman soon found his stride and on 35 minutes forced a save from Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Then, shortly after half time, Abdulrahman played a key role in the build-up to Ahli’s penalty, which he subsequently dinked past substitute goalkeeper Jordi Masip. It was almost a carbon copy of Abdulrahman’s spot-kick for the UAE against Japan at last year’s Asian Cup.
The Emirati, who counts Barcelona among his favourite teams, was substituted in the 61st minute, with the score at 5-1. The five-time European champions, currently second in the Primera Liga, had netted a quick-fire double from Paco Alcacer and Rafinha.
Ahli did half the deficit not long after, when forward Muhannad Assiri struck twice in five minutes to give his side hope of an unlikely result. Yet Barcelona, by that time fielding a raft of their reserves, saw out the game to prevail 5-3.
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Updated: December 13, 2016 04:00 AM