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Why was Iraq’s Aymen Hussein sent-off against Jordan in AFC Asian Cup 2023 RO16?

Published at :January 29, 2024 at 8:22 PM
Modified at :January 29, 2024 at 8:22 PM
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(Courtesy : AFC)

Atawaris Warsi


This was Aymen Hussein’s sixth goal in AFC Asian Cup 2023.

In a dramatic AFC Asian Cup 2023 round-of-16 clash between Iraq and Jordan, Aymen Hussein’s goal-scoring heroics took an unexpected turn, resulting in a controversial red card that altered the course of the game and left fans bewildered.

The narrative began with Iraq trailing by a goal, Yazan Al-Naimat’s first-half injury-time strike putting Jordan in the lead. The Lions of Mesopotamia, however, mounted a comeback in the second half, with Naji Suad’s header levelling the score. Aymen Hussein’s clinical finish in the 76th minute gave Iraq the lead, marking a pivotal moment in the match.

As the jubilant striker extended his celebrations beyond the permissible limits, he received a yellow card – his second of the game – leading to his expulsion from the field. FIFA rules penalize excessive celebrations, and Aymen’s prolonged revelry fell afoul of Law 12, which targets time-wasting and choreographed goal celebrations.

The laws of goal celebration underscore the balance between expressing joy and avoiding excessive actions. While reasonable celebrations are allowed, referees are empowered to intervene in cases of provocative or inflammatory gestures. Aymen’s unique celebration, gesturing a ‘having a meal’ sign, also resulted in him receiving his second yellow card, sparking controversy and confusion among fans and players alike.

The red card turned the tide of the match, giving Jordan an extra player advantage. The additional manpower empowered Jordan to capitalise on Iraq’s vulnerability, ultimately scoring two stoppage-time goals. Yazan Abu Al-Arab equalised in the fifth minute of added time, and Nizar Al Rashdan secured Jordan’s quarterfinal spot with a winner two minutes later.

The Iraqi fans, initially ecstatic about Aymen’s goal that elevated him to the top of the tournament’s scoring chart with six goals, were left in disbelief. While Aymen’s red card undoubtedly impacted Iraq’s fate, credit must be given to Jordan for their composure in added time, seizing the opportunity to secure a memorable victory. The AFC Asian Cup, already renowned for its classic matches added another chapter to its history with this gripping encounter.

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