Kosta Barbarouses was tasked with playing a soccer game Saturday, but the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting in his New Zealand homeland weighed heavily on him and he made a heartfelt tribute on the pitch after scoring a goal.
The Kiwi striker, playing for the Australian A-League team Melbourne Victory, dropped to his knees and touched his head to the ground in an apparent gesture to Muslim prayer after scoring the first of his two goals in a 2-1 victory over Brisbane Roar.
He explained afterward that he was “devastated” by what he said was a “very sad day” in his country’s history.
“Pretty devastated, to be honest. A pretty emotional day,” Barbarouses said after the match. “[The celebration] doesn’t mean much to them, but it’s something.”
He later posted an image of his tribute on Instagram and wrote: “My prayers go out to everyone that lost their lives and to all their loved ones, very sad day in our history.”
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