Syrian striker Omar Al Somah became a national hero on Tuesday evening.
The 28-year-old, who has 25 goals in his last 24 league games at Al Ahli in the Saudi professional league, scored a last-gasp equaliser during Syria’s World Cup qualifier against Iran. It sparked scenes of jubilation.
At 2-1 down, Syria had no hope of progressing to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, but Al Somah’s dramatic goal meant Syria had done enough to make the play-offs.
A two-legged match against Australia now awaits the side in October. Win that, and Syria has booked its ticket to Russia next summer.
Al Somah’s goal meant so much that a match commentator broke down in tears during the celebrations. You can watch it all unfold in the clip below.
Syrians have “mixed emotions” about their football team, according to BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway, who spent six days in Damascus earlier this year.
“Syria is in the middle of a six-year war and the team have no money because of the sanctions. Lots of Syrians have mixed emotions about supporting the team. Some, but by no means all, feel that the team rises above politics,” he told the BBC website.
Fans were pictured waving images of President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday night despite the civil war that has ravaged Syria.
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