Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July 2004 - The Luckiest Of Losers

On 22 July 2004, the football team of the Université National de Bénin lost 1-2 to Jeunesse Sportive de Pobè in the first round of Benin's Coupe de l'Independence.

The Coupe de l'Independence is a league cup-style tournament in which ten teams from Benin's top division participate. Because the first round includes all ten teams, resulting in only five winners, one of the losing sides, known as a "lucky loser," advances to the next round in order to provide an even number of teams. In the case of the 2004 Coupe de l'Independence first round, that team was UNB.

UNB also lost their second-round match, this time to ASJA FC in a penalty shootout, 4-4 (4-5), but again advanced as lucky losers in order to provide a fourth team for the semi-finals. There, UNB recorded their first win of the tournament, beating Soleil FC 2-1 (a.e.t.).

In the Final, UNB faced ASJA again. This time, however, UNB won 1-0, with a 17th minute goal from Paul Koyaya. They thus became the only team in football history to win a cup tournament despite losses in two successive knockout rounds.

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