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Why Amad Diallo’s Man United winning goal vs Liverpool meant more



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Sunday afternoon saw a North West derby that will go down in history as one of the all-time great ties between English football’s two greatest foes.

Manchester United started strongly and took the lead early through Scott McTominay, dominating the opening 40 minutes of the game. You can’t ever switch off against Liverpool though, and in the final minutes of the first half, they turned the tie on its head with goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Mohamed Salah.

The second half was a largely weak, unenergetic and pathetic performance from United but Antony managed to sneak a shot past Caoimhin Kelleher late in the game to equalise and completely shift momentum.

Read More: What Harry Maguire told Bruno Fernandes about playing in defence for Man United vs Liverpool

In the final minutes, Old Trafford roared United on as they pressed for a winner, and fans thought Marcus Rashford was about to do just that with the last kick of normal time after a stunning Christian Eriksen pass, but he was unable to convert and sitting rooms all over the country saw people fall to their knees in shock.

The first half of extra time saw Harvey Elliot’s shot deflect in off Christian Eriksen, and things were looking difficult for a tired United side, but in the second half of extra time attacking the fabled Stretford End, the side found that extra wind. Marcus Rashford made up for his earlier miss with a well-taken finish after Scott Mctominay picked up a ball won back by Amad Diallo’s smart press.

Then Diallo himself would see a dream come true, scoring his first goal in front of fans for Manchester United after winning the ball from a Liverpool corner and sprinting up the pitch alongside Alejandro Garnacho, who played him in for a fantastic finish.

Amad would be sent off with a second yellow card for taking his shirt off during the celebration, but the goal will go down in United folklore as one of the great FA Cup goals. But for Amad, and a sizeable section of Manchester United’s fanbase, the goal was extra special for other reasons.

Amad Diallo is a proud Muslim, and right now, Muslims all around the world are observing fasting for the Holy month of Ramadan. Between sunrise and sunset, Muslims will completely abstain from food, water, and anything bad for you to attain taqwa – which translates from Arabic as ‘God-consciousness’.

For many people, this would naturally feel difficult, but for a professional athlete, that difficulty is heightened even further due to the nature of what they do. Amad spoke in his post-game interview about this, admitting the difficulties of fasting as an athlete but highlighting his pure intentions for doing so.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah had scored earlier in the game whilst fasting, and in poetic fashion, Amad’s goal came minutes before hundreds of thousands of Muslims around the country were about to break their fast, with sunset looming.

The two clubs contesting the game, in particular, have a significant number of Muslim football fans due to their global reach, and many neutral fans watching the game would have felt their hearts warm in the moment, too.

In football and life, we often build connections based on shared experiences and empathy. Fans choose their favourite teams, players, et cetera because it resonates with them on a human level, speaking to something inside them. For Muslim football fans in the UK and all around the world, Amad is an example of that.

The Ivorian may be a professional footballer, but underneath the facade of fame, he forms part of a collective that is greater. At a time when Muslims are fasting and struggling together more so than other times of the year and feeling the collective hurt of oppression in places like Palestine, moments like these mean so much more to fans than just winning a game of football, even one as big as this. They speak to who we are beyond the grass.