Seven unforgettable matches in CAN history

Karim Farouk, Thursday 19 Jan 2012

Ahram Online selects seven remarkable matches in CAN history


1957 - First CAN final:

African football finally gave birth to its first official competition, marking a new turn for the continent amid decolonisation.

Egypt defeated Sudan to face Ethiopia in the final. On 16 February, 1957, the Pharaohs lifted their first trophy after crushing Ethiopia 4-0. Legendary striker Mohamed “Diba” Diab El-Attar scored Egypt’s four goals to set a record that no one has managed to beat since. The Abdel-Aziz Salem trophy was awarded to Egypt, who then went on to storm the continent with a total of seven titles, three more than their closest rivals.

1970 - Deportation order:

The seventh CAN edition, which was held in Sudan, witnessed a sour end, although the hosts won their first and only title.

Ghana - who reached their fourth final in a row - slammed Ethiopian referee Tesfaye Gebreyesus for allegedly favouring Sudan, who claimed a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a goal from El-Issed.

The Black Stars equalised with a corner kick but the goal, to their frustration, was ruled as offside. The Ghanaians refused to receive the silver medals that were presented by military ruler Gaafar Nimeiry, an action which prompted Sudan to escalate the row after feeling offended.

Sudan issued a 24-hour ultimatum for the Ghanaian team to leave the country in the first and only time that a national team has received a deportation order in the history of African football.

1974 - Final replayed:

In the final of the 1974 edition in Egypt, Zaire were held to a 2-2 draw by Zambia at Cairo stadium. Mulamba N’Daye cancelled out Simon Kaushi’s first-half lead in the 65th minute before notching home again in extra time to give Zaire a 2-1 lead in the 117th minute and put them on the verge of their second CAN triumph.

However, a goal from Zambia’s Brighton Sinyangwe just before the end of the second-half of extra time restored parity in probably the most dramatic final in the history of CAN.

Given that the penalty shootout was not applied at the time, the game was replayed two days later. N’Daye - nicknamed the Assassin of Katanga - hit another double on 30 and 76 minutes to give Zaire their second title. N’Daye finished as the tournament’s top scorer with nine goals, a CAN record of goals scored by one player in a single tournament.

1992 - Breathtaking shootout:

Ghana hero Abedi “Pele” Ayew, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, led the Black Stars to the final after scoring three goals en route to the decisive game, but he missed it due to suspension.

After 120 minutes, neither team could make the breakthrough as the game went into penalties. Ivory Coast won their first and only title until now, after beating Ghana 11-10 in a breathtaking penalty shootout.

Isaac Asare and Anthony Baffoe missed for Ghana while Tiehi missed once for the Elephants of Ivory Coast. Many thought it was a real shame that an Ivorian squad that included the likes of Pele, Anthony Yeboah and Nil Lamptey missed out on the trophy but, surprisingly enough, Pele revealed lately that the team was overrated.

“I think we had a strong team, but not as strong as people really think it was. We had characters who really never wanted to lose, who were really mentally strong and who wanted to win everything. So that made us look very, very good,” the three-time African footballer of the year said.

2006 - Drogba’s glaring miss:

In the final of the 2006 edition in Egypt, the hosts were held to a goalless draw by a star-studded Ivory Coast side. It was a much contested game and neither seemed able to make their domination count.

In the 76th minute, Aruna Kone set up Didier Drogba for what should have been an easy tap-in, but the striker astonishingly shot over the bar with the goal gaping.

The Pharaohs missed a golden opportunity to settle the tie in their favour in extra time when midfielder Ahmed Hassan wasted a penalty. In the penalty shootout, Drogba was the villain again as his spot-kick was brilliantly blocked by keeper Essam El-Hadary, giving Egypt their first CAN title since 1998.

2010 - Stunning comeback:

In one of the most thrilling games in the history of CAN, Angola were cruising to an emphatic win over Mali in the opening match of the 2010 edition but their hearts were broken following a stunning Mali fight-back.

Angola were leading 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining, thanks to a brace from Flavio Amado and goals from Sebastiao Gilberto and Manucho.

A stunning comeback saw Mali score four goals in less than 15 minutes through efforts from Seydou Keita, Frederic Kanoute and Mustapha Yatanare.

“I still can’t believe it happened. I’ve never seen anything like this. How can any team throw a 4-0 lead in such a short period of time? This is the most awkward thing I have ever seen during my 40-year old career,” said Angola coach Manuel Jose during the post-match press conference.

2010 - Three in a row:

Egypt claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Ghana in the 2010 final to win CAN for the third consecutive time, marking an unprecedented feat in the continent.

Chances were few and far between as both sides adopted a cautious strategy. Egypt had the better possession but struggled to carve out openings, thanks to Ghana’s solid midfield and backline.

Egypt needed another goal from super substitute Mohamed Nagy “Geddo” to down Ghana and spark wild celebrations in the football-mad country.

He replaced the ineffective Emad Meteb on 70 minutes and netter the winner with five minutes remaining after a neat combination with Mohamed Zidan.

Exchanging passes with the Borussia Dortmund man, Geddo burst into the area before placing a precise shot into the bottom corner past Ghana keeper Richard Kingson.

He finished as the tournament’s top scorer after scoring five goals off the bench.

"Winning the competition compensated for our World Cup disqualification. We exerted huge efforts to claim this title,” he said after the game.

"I speculated that I would score in the final, but never thought I would be named the top scorer."

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