Will he really go to the cinema? Egypt's Cuper out to end final jinx

Hatem Maher , Saturday 4 Feb 2017,
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Cuper
African Cup of Nations - Semi Finals - Burkina Faso v Egypt- Stade de l'Amitie - Libreville, Gabon - 1/2/17 Egypt coach Hector Cuper Reuters

Egypt coach Hector Cuper joked that he might not go to Sunday's African Nations Cup final against Cameroon to avoid falling foul of a jinx that has haunted him in his career. He said he would go to the cinema instead.

The Pharaohs are going for a record-extending eighth title as they face four-time winners Cameroon in Libreville but Cuper must first lay his final ghosts to rest.

The veteran Argentinean boss has a history of guiding some unfancied sides to continental finals, only to fall at the last hurdle.

"Despite my bad luck in the finals, I am optimistic this time with Egypt," Cuper told a news conference after Egypt defeated Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's semi-final.

Here is a list of the finals Cuper had lost.

1998 Copa del Rey final (Mallorca v Barcelona)

Modest Mallorca set up a tough Copa del Rey final against Catalan giants Barcelona in 1998, which was played at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium.

Jovan Stankovic gave Mallorca an early surprise lead but Brazil forward Rivaldo drew Barcelona level with a 66th-minute goal.

Both sides failed to score in extra time and Barcelona had the upper hand in the shootout, winning 5-4 after Mallorca wasted four spot kicks to Barcelona's three.

1999 European Cup Winners' Cup final (Mallorca v Lazio)

Mallorca continued to impress under his guidance, reaching the European Cup Winners' Cup final a year later against Lazio. 

Italy striker Christian Vieri fired Lazio in front after seven minutes but Mallorca's Dani restored parity four minutes later.

The match looked as though it was heading to extra time when Czech ace Pavel Nedved scored the winner to make it 2-1 with nine minutes remaining.

2000 European Champions League final (Valencia v Real Madrid)

Cuper continued to cause upsets on the European stage, lifting Valencia to the Champions League final after a great run that saw them top a group which included Bayern Munich with 12 points from six games.

However, they were no match to Real Madrid in the final, with the Spanish giants strolling to an easy 3-0 victory with goals from Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul.

2001 European Champions League final (Valencia v Bayern Munich)

Valencia fought harder in the elite final a year later, making life difficult for Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.

Gaizka Mendieta converted a penalty after three minutes to give Valencia the lead Stefan Effenberg drew Bayern level, also from the spot, five minutes after the restart.

The match went into penalties, where Cuper was unlucky as Bayern prevailed 5-4.

2002 Italian Serie A (Inter Milan v Lazio)

Cuper built a powerful Inter Milan side that were just inches away from claiming their first Serie A title since 1989.

The leaders needed to defeat Lazio on the final day of the season to wrap up the title but a dramatic 4-2 defeat coupled with a Juventus victory over Udinese gifted the Bianconeri a memorable triumph.

Although Inter were 2-1 up, thanks to goals from Christian Vieri and Luigi Di Biagio, Lazio rallied back with goals from Karel Poborsky, Diego Simeone and Simone Inzaghi as Cuper tasted the most painful defeat of his career.

Cuper
Inter Milan's Hector Cuper shows his frustration from the bench during his team's Serie A clash against Lazio at the Olympic Stadium in Rome May 5, 2002 (Reuters)

2010 Greek Cup final (Aris Thessaloniki v Panathinaikos)

Eight years later, Cuper could not grasp a chance to end this jinx when he steered Aris Thessaloniki to a place in the Greek Cup final.

They lost 1-0 to Panathinaikos, who scored what proved to be the winner three minutes past the hour mark, thanks to a goal from Leto.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 

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Group A W D L P
Cameroon
2 1 0 7
Burkina Faso
1 1 1 4
Cape Verde
1 1 1 4
Ethiopia
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Senegal
1 2 0 5
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Malawi
1 1 1 4
Zimbabwe
1 0 2 3
Group C W D L P
Morocco
2 1 0 7
Gabon
1 2 0 5
Comoros
1 0 2 3
Ghana
0 1 2 1
Group D W D L P
Nigeria
3 0 0 9
Egypt
2 0 1 6
Sudan
0 1 2 1
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1
Group E W D L P
Cote d Ivoire
2 1 0 7
Equatorial Guinea
2 0 1 6
Sierra Leone
0 2 1 2
Algeria
0 1 2 1
Group F W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Gambia
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
1 0 2 3
Mauritania
0 0 3 0