NPL star scores historic goal in World Cup qualifier

Avondale star Yusuf Ahmed capped off a dream international debut with Somalia by scoring in their 3-1 loss to Algeria in CAF World Cup qualifiers overnight.

After falling behind 2-0 thanks to an own-goal from Ahmed Abdi and a Baghdad Bounedjah goal, Ahmed tapped home in the second-half to make the score 2-1 in Algiers.

Unfortunately, his goal wasn’t enough to kickstart a fightback for The Ocean Stars, with Islam Slimani putting the result beyond doubt in the final ten minutes.

Friday morning’s game (AEDT) was Ahmed’s first for Somalia, coming up against the African powerhouses who boasted the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Houssem Aouar, Aissa Mandi, Nabil Bentaleb and Sofian Feghouli in their matchday squad.

His goal was only the fourth in the nation’s history in World Cup qualifiers.

Ahmed previously played for Melbourne City’s academy side, before joining Avondale in 2019.

During his five seasons at the club, Ahmed has starred for the Avengers, most notably last campaign where he scored 11 league goals.

The 26-year-old started in their thumping 4-0 win over South Melbourne in the Grand Final as Zoran Markovski’s side took home their first NPL Victoria Championship.

Somalia return to action next Wednesday when they face Uganda in their next World Cup qualifier.

Meanwhile, fellow Victorian state football representative in Kingston City’s Sayed Fatemi started in Afghanistan’s 8-1 loss to Qatar in AFC World Cup qualifiers, while Hume City’s Jawad Rezai was an unused substitute.

South Sudan’s national side also return to action tomorrow, with South Melbourne’s Ajak Riak and Dandenong Thunder goalkeeper Majak Mawith among the players selected for their qualifiers against Senegal tomorrow and Mauritiana on Wednesday.