Algeria national team player contracts terminated after scoring against his club national team

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Qatar SC have terminated the contract of winger Youcef Belaili, a day after he scored the goal that eliminated Qatar from the FIFA Arab Cup.

Belaili converted following a penalty in the 17th minute of stoppage time to send Algeria to the final of the Arab Cup after knocking out hosts Qatar 2-1 in a thrilling semi-final at Al Thumama Stadium on Wednesday.

Algeria had been on course for a routine 1-0 victory before Polish referee Szymon Marciniak added nine minutes of injury time and Qatar’s Mohammed Muntari headed an equaliser in the 97th minute.

There was widespread confusion about the length of injury time, causing consternation among the Algerian players and staff, before a lengthy VAR stoppage to validate Muntari’s equaliser.

That meant there was more remarkable drama as Algeria were awarded a penalty in the 104 th minute – with Belaili netting at the second attempt.

Youcef Belaili has departed Qatar SC following his winning strike for Algeria
Youcef Belaili has departed Qatar SC following his winning strike for Algeria
The Algerians will meet North African rivals Tunisia, who defeated Egypt 1-0, in the Arab Cup final on Saturday.

Yet star player Belaili – whose dramatic winner was his eighth goal for his nation in 30 caps – will enter that club as an unattached player, after having his contract terminated by Qatar SC.

The 29-year-old Belaili has spent almost his entire career between Algeria and Tunisia, except for a brief stint at French club Angers and in recent seasons has played for Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia and Qatari outfit Qatar SC.

While there does not appear to be any ill-will offered by the player, the fact that his deal was cancelled the day after his decisive goal against the nation will raise eyebrows.

Belaili posted on his Instagram account: “Thank you very much to Qatar SC for the moments spent by your side and a huge thank you to the fans and the management.

“Now I am a free agent.”

It will inevitably draw comparisons to the 2002 World Cup, when South Korea’s golden goal hero Ahn Jung-hwan has had his contract terminated by Serie A club Perugia after his goal eliminated Italy from the Round of 16.

Perugia chairman Luciano Gaucci said at the time: “That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again.”

Belaili netted an impressive return of 17 goals in 25 appearances for the Qatari club, where he played alongside international teammate Djamel Benlamri – formerly of Lyon.

The club also have former Huddersfield Town player Isaac Mbenza on their books with their most notable star being Javi Martinez – the former Spain international and Bayern Munich player.

Algeria are now aiming to win their first ever Arab Cup title as they take on regional rivals Tunisia on Saturday’s final, a team that includes Manchester United youngster Hannibal Mejbri.

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