Al-Hilal’s Nasser Al Shamrani says he doesn’t expect to be denied the AFC Player of the Year award for spitting at Matthew Spiranovic.
Al Shamrani sparked an ugly confrontation between the Saudi Arabian club’s players and officials and those of Western Sydney in the wake of the Wanderers’ AFC Champions League 1-0 aggregate triumph at the King Fahd International Stadium earlier this month.
That didn’t prevent Asian football’s governing body from including him in their short list for the region’s biggest individual accolade.
And Al Shamrani has since blamed the Australia international for sparking the distasteful scenes in Riyadh.
“I do not expect to lose this trophy,” he told a press conference ahead of the awards ceremony.
“Actually I was provoked by the Western Sydney player, and it’s a normal reaction for a player sometimes it happens.
“He used abusive words and it was unsportsmanlike conduct that provoked me. For him, he was supposed to cool down as his team already won and not use such words or language against me which really provoked me.”