Soccer Player Sala’s Team, Fans Pay Warm Tributes At Grim Game

James Kirk
Author James Kirk
Collection StoriaSports

A soccer game can be significant when the stakes are high, but at times a game is, well, just a game. There are far more significant events in life – matters of life and death.

At a game under the floodlights in north London, Arsenal were the victors, beating Cardiff City 2-1 in the Welsh club's first game since the aircraft carrying record-signing Emiliano Sala disappeared from radar last week. Sala would have played for Cardiff.

Cardiff lost without him, yet a win would have been of little consolation anyway for those red-eyed with grief.

After the Premier League match, Cardiff manager Neil Warnock admitted there had been occasions over the last seven days when he did not want to get out of bed, according to CNN.

"What's gone on this week is unprecedented, really. I can't explain really how it's been," he told reporters, keeping his gaze on the desk in front of him.

"You've not really wanted to get out of bed because everything was really miserable. Nobody could do anything about it. It's been really difficult.

"I know we've lost a game of football but there are more important things."

There was no escaping the poignancy of the occasion, a match which would likely have been the 28-year-old's first for the club he joined from French club Nantes for $19.3 million less than two weeks ago.

Touching tributes were paid at the stadium. Both captains placed floral tributes on the pitch before the match, although, at the request of the family, black armbands were not worn as the Argentine striker has not been confirmed dead.

Instead, Cardiff staff and fans wore yellow daffodils, the national flower of Wales and a symbol of Sala's former club Nantes.

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