Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 November 1989 -They Really Don't Like Each Other

On 17 November 1989, Egypt met Algeria at Cairo Stadium to decide who would advance to the 1990 World Cup. The hosts won, 1-0, but the match is best remembered for the ensuing violence, earning it the nickname "the Hate Match."

The two sides had a long history of dislike, dating back to the 1950s when Egypt refused to play matches intended to support Algerian independence. By the 1970s and '80s, brawls had become a staple of their matches.

By 1989, Algeria were considered the better team, having gone to the two previous World Cups and finishing in third place at the 1988 African Cup of Nations. In order to book their ticket to the 1990 World Cup, they needed only a point against Egypt, who had not qualified for the World Cup since 1934.

With a capacity of 100,000, Cairo Stadium was close to packed a full 4 hours before kick-off. The home supporters were rewarded with a 4th-minute goal from Al-Ahly striker Hossam Hassan (pictured), which turned out to be the matchwinner. After the final whistle, Algeria's players, coaches, and officials surrounded the referee, then began throwing plants and dirt into the stands. At a post-match reception, Algerian midfielder Lakhdar Belloumi struck the Egyptian team doctor, blinding him in one eye.

On 18 November 2009, the two teams met again in a World Cup qualification playoff, with Algeria winning 1-0 as riots and violence again dominated the post-match reports.

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