Monday, March 21, 2011

21 March 1986 - The Pharaohs Reign Again

On 21 March 1986, hosts Egypt won their third Africa Cup of Nations title, beating Cameroon on penalties, 0-0 (5-4).

The Pharoahs had won the very first two tournaments in 1957 and 1959 (the latter as the United Arab Republic), but had managed no better than third in the intervening years. Most recently, they finished fourth in 1984.

Their 1986 campaign got off to a poor start with an opening-day loss to Sengal in Cairo, but they rallied with wins over Côte d'Ivoire and Moambique to top their group. Cameroon, meanwhile, won their own group with wins over Zambia and Algeria and a draw with Morocco.

In the semi-finals, Egypt downed Morocco and Cameroon defeated Côte d'Ivoire with equal 1-0 scorelines to set up the final in Cairo. There, Cameroon's goalkeeper Thomas Nkono, who was named to the team of the tournament, kept Egypt out of the goal, while Egypt, in turn, stymied the tournament's leading scorer, Roger Milla. After extra time, the teams were still scoreless, forcing the match into penalty kicks which Egypt won, 5-4.

Egypt have since gone on to win another four ACN titles, including the last three in a row, making them the competition's most successful nation.

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