Soccer has a custom of kicking the ball out of bounds when your opponent is down with an injury. But it’s far less common to see a player turn down a wide-open goal in the name of good sportsmanship.
That’s exactly what happened in a recent game between professional teams based in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, according to a Reddit user. In the second half of a match, Mahmoud Za’tara, a player for Jordan’s Al Wihdat, had a one-on-one opportunity with a goalie and turned it down to kick the ball out of bounds. Just before receiving the pass into the box, Za’tara saw one of the opponent’s players fall with an injury.
His decision to kick the ball out of bounds drew praise from his teammates as well as the other team.
Although it is seen as good sportsmanship to act that way when the opposing team is injured, that certainly doesn’t happen all the time — and it’s extremely rare to see a player make that decision with such a great opportunity to score.
Furthermore, Za’tara reacts pretty quickly after seeing the injured player, and the automatic nature of his response is pretty remarkable on top of his sacrifice of personal stats.
It should be noted that Za’tara’s team was up 2-0 at that point and the game was in good shape. Even so, the allure of a goal would tempt many other players, and they probably wouldn’t be criticized much for it. Credit Za’tara for his quick thinking and great example of sportsmanship.