Iraqi Premier League experienced heartbreaking scenes when Naft Maysan goalkeeper Alaa Ahmed broke into tears at the end of the game against Al-Shorta after revealing to his teammates and coach that his daughter had died.
Ahmad, 21, asked his family to keep the tragic news a secret as he was desperate to play in the match Thursday in order to show off his capabilities against giants Al-Shorta.
When the rest of the players of the Naft Maysan found out what had happened, they ran to hug and support Ahmed, the goalkeeper who gave a heroic performance with a broken heart after the loss of his little girl.
"Several hours before the game my five-day-old daughter died because of complications during birth," Naft Maysan stopper Alaa Ahmad told reporters.
"I took a lot on myself and did not tell my teammates or coach because I knew they would refuse to let me play," he said.
Ahmad helped his underdog team to a 1-1 draw against their rivals but, while other players began celebrating at the final whistle, he said he was "hit by a bizarre sensation" and collapsed in tears.
News of Ahmad’s decision spread rapidly on social media and he was flooded with messages of support.
Pundits heaped praise on his performance, with one of the match referees saying he put in a "spectacular" showing.