USL footballer told before kick-off his father had died scores winner & tells team-mate in emotional celebration

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Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento Republic forward Darek Formella has revealed how he found out about the death of his father just a few hours before he scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win over Rio Grande Valley FC.

The 23-year-old hadn't informed the club or his team-mates about the tragic news, with Formella's father sadly losing his battle with cancer last week prior to the USL Western Conference fixture between the two sides. 

The former Lech Poznan attacker was introduced as a second-half substitute in the game played on September 15, with the score tied at 1-1 when he came on in place of Stefano Bonomo.

Formella then went on to score the winner in the 81st minute, smashing an effort into the roof of the net before an emotional celebration saw him cover his face and fall to his knees.

Team-mate Charalampos Chantzopoulos then went over to congratulate the Pole, who informed him for the first time that his father had died prior to the match starting.

Shocked and saddened, Chantzopoulos points to the sky and appears to say "for him" to Formella as both players walked back to prepare for the restart.

Posting on social media three days after the match, the forward wrote about the game and the passing of his father: "Many of you guys are asking me why did I celebrate like that? Last couple of weeks was very tough for me and my family.

"My father was struggling with cancer. Three hours before the game I found out that my dad passed away. I tried to not show anyone that something was wrong, kept focused on the game and did my job as good as I can. But after I scored I couldn't keep my emotion and just started crying.

"I'm in Poland right now and I will miss the next game against Energy FC but I will come back after this game and will be ready to give everything what I have for Sac for the rest of the season! See you at PMP!"

Sacramento produced a touching video of Formella's goal and celebration, praising their player's incredible courage for featuring in the match despite his personal loss.

The clip, posted on the club's social media accounts, signed off with the words: "Darek, thank you for reminding us how beautiful the game truly is. Much love and strength to you and your family."