All Whites forward and hip-hop artist Joey Champness has fallen foul with Besiktas supporters after scoring a fourth goal for Turkish club Giresunspor when the opposition goalkeeper was down injured.
Besiktas goalkeeper Mert Gunok tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and slumped to the ground as Giresunspor attackers bared down on the goal in search of a fourth goal in the 90th minute.
With the goalkeeper down, another Giresunspor player had a clear shot on goal but instead decided to lay the ball off to substitute Champness, who fired into an empty net to stun the defending champions 4-0.
But the goal has sparked fierce debate in Turkey, with many Besiktas supporters believing the former Australian youth international should have kicked the ball out given the severity of the Gunok’s knee injury.
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Others have said Champness did the right thing and it was up to the referee to stop play for an injury.
West Ham player Paulo Di Canio was praised for his sportsmanship when he caught the ball and stopped play when Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard went down with an injury in a Premier League game in 2000. That match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Champness threw the ball to one of his team-mates after scoring Giresunspor’s fourth goal and initially ran towards the corner flag to celebrate but footage from a spectator in the crowd showed Giresunspor players stopped celebrating and went and checked on Gunok once they realised he was seriously injured.
In a statement translated to English, a Giresunspor spokesperson said after the game that Champness and his team-mates did not know the goalkeeper was hurt until after the goal had already been scored and he could not hear the calls from the sideline not to throw the ball to his team-mate in celebration.
“With the excitement of the fight, our player could not realise this situation,” the spokesperson said.
“We shouted not to throw, but we can say that it is the excitement of the moment. Our players also experienced great sadness after the goal.”
The four-goal win was Giresunspor’s biggest of the season and moved them three points clear of the relegation zone.