Israeli soccer player given yellow card for raising Israeli flag after goal

The match also attracted a massive crowd of pro-Palestinian supporters who loudly chanted throughout the match ‘Free Palestine.’

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Maccabi Tel Aviv Israeli soccer player Dan Biton was issued a yellow card during his team’s game on Thursday in Reykjavik, Iceland, for celebrating his goal with the Israeli flag.

During the first half of the match against the Icelandic team Breidablik at the Kopavogsvollur stadium, Baton made a left-foot strike that went past goalkeeper Anton Einarsson and gave Maccabi Tel Aviv the first score of the game. Bison then walked over to the bench and picked up an Israeli flag, a move that resulted in Bosnian referee Luka Bilbija giving him a yellow card, which in soccer serves as a warning for a player’s actions or behavior. A player is ejected for receiving two yellow cards in the same game.

Maccabi Tel Aviv ended up winning the match 2-1, with Erin Zahavi scoring the team’s second goal in the 82nd minute. The Israeli team now advances to the knockout stage of the UEFA Conference League.

Thursday’s game at Kopavogsvollur stadium also attracted a massive crowd of pro-Palestinian supporters who gathered outside the stadium and loudly chanted throughout the match “Free Palestine,” “Stop the occupation,” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan widely interpreted as a call for the eradication of Israel, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The protesters also held large Palestinian flags behind Maccabi Tel Aviv’s net and joined others inside the stadium in booing loudly when the Israeli team scored its two goals in the game.

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After the match, Zahavi addressed the uproar outside the stadium, saying it motivated the team to win. “I won’t lie, it bothered us the whole game and it was not pleasant,” he said. “An appropriate response is a ball in the net.”