Six of the craziest football games of all time – from foggy chaos to AFCON drama

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Anything can happen in a 90-minute football game, which is why it’s often called “the beautiful game”.

Almighty comebacks with only minutes to spare to title-winning underdogs, as well as devastating losses – we’ve seen that throughout the years.

But as with any football match, certain events may occur which can make the match memorable, but not for the football, rather for the controversies, as well as the unique circumstances that take place on and off the pitch.

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Here’s a look at the six craziest football games of all time:

Arsenal v Dynamo Moscow – 1945

From time to time the weather can disrupt the game schedule if the conditions are too dangerous to play – but in 1945 it seems that was not a problem at all.

Dense fog had descended on White Hart Lane (it had been played out there as Arsenal’s ground in Highbury was an air raid control center during the Second World War) but despite the conditions the referee decided not to not cancel the match, Average reported.

Within the first 33 seconds of the game, Dynamo took the lead but at half time they were down 3–2. With the 55,000 spectators barely able to see what was going on in the game, the players quickly used the hazy surroundings to their advantage by making solid tackles which might have been shown a red card had they been committed by clear weather.

Dynamo also reportedly played with 12 people on the pitch at one point (some report the number was 15) due to a substitution error.

Arsenal also broke the rules when player George Drury was sent off, but eventually ran into the fog and played on for the rest of the game.

In the end, Dynamo with its 12 footballers won 3-4.

Leicester City v Aston Villa – 1976

(Getty Images)

While hitting the back of the net is the primary objective (pardon the pun) for any footballer, it goes without saying that it shouldn’t be your team’s objective.

In a 1976 Division One game where Aston Villa took on Leicester City at Filbert Street, centre-back Chris Nicholl found the back of the net four times.

While four goals sounds like an epic victory for Nicholl and Villa, unfortunately for them two of the goals landed in the back of their own net, putting his opponent in front twice, and the match ended in a 2-0 draw. 2.

Nicholl later called the game’s third goal, which was an unstoppable header, the “best goal I’ve ever scored”, he told the Birmingham Post in 2006.

What’s crazier is that his two own goals statistically made him Leicester’s fifth-highest goalscorer at the end of that particular season.

Kuwait v France – 1982 World Cup

(AFP via Getty Images)

After an impressive 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), Kuwait looked to surprise by beating France in their second game of the 1982 World Cup, as Sheikh Fahad Al- Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Prince of Kuwait and also the President of the National Football Association watched from the stands.

It wasn’t like France were leading 2-0 in the first half before scoring the third goal in the 48th minute, although Kuwait managed to defend and score a goal in the 75th minute, although everything hope of a comeback was quickly gone when France’s Alain Giresse netted his fourth goal.

As a result, the Kuwaiti players and staff quickly complained about the referee and felt that France’s goal should be disallowed as the Kuwaiti players stopped as they thought the referee had whistled as he swung. was actually a whistle in the crowd.

Even Kuwaiti FA President Prince Fahid stepped down from his seat and got involved. Incredibly, the referee reversed his original decision and disallowed the goal, much to the anger of the France team.

But in the end, it wouldn’t really matter as France would score again in the 90th minute and win the match 4-1.

As a result, referee Miroslav Stupar was banned from officiating, while Prince Fahid was fined £8,000 for his involvement.

Bena Tshadi against Basanga -1998

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

An October 1998 match between Bena Tshadi and Basanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw its most tragic and unfortunate turn of events when a freak lightning strike killed 11 Bena Tshadi players mid-match.

The match was tied 1-1 against visitors Basanga in the eastern province of Kasai when a real shot from the sky struck, The Guardian reported.

“Lightning suddenly killed 11 young people aged 20 to 35 during a football match”, indicates the daily The future in Kinshasa reported at the time.

Meanwhile, another 30 people were injured with burns, but most miraculously, the newspaper also reported that Basanga’s team members “surprisingly emerged from this catastrophe unscathed”.

Despite this report from L’Avenir, there are no similar reports of this story due to the fact that there was a civil war in the country at the time.

Vitebsk vs. Naftan – 2008

Many enjoy a few bevvies while watching football, however, you don’t expect the referee to be trolled at work – but that’s exactly what happened in 2008 when Vitebsk faced Naftan in the Belarusian Premier League.

The referee in question was Sergei Shmolik who had previously officiated at Wembley for England’s 6-0 win over Luxembourg in 1999 and just the previous year had been voted Belarus’ best referee.

What made this situation even more bizarre were second-half footage showing Shmolik slouching and not moving around the pitch to watch the game, instead refereeing the game from the center circle.

Things got stranger, he started to whistle randomly and ‘gesture like a clown’ as people quickly realized the reason for his condition, he was then confronted by an official who then escorted him out of the pitch as Shmolik waved to the crowd as he struggled to stand on his own, the evening standard reported.

Ultimately, the game had ended in a 1–1 draw, and after the game Shmolik was tested in hospital, which confirmed that he had a high blood alcohol level.

As a result of his drunken shenanigans, Shmolik was banned from refereeing.

Tunisia v Mali – Africa Cup of Nations 2021

Most recently, the match between Tunisia and Mali in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations made headlines for the chaotic handling of the match when the referee blew the whistle early for full time – twice.

But that wasn’t the only controversy as the game featured two contentious penalties and a red card. One of the penalty kicks, fired by Ibrahima Kone, gave Mali the lead in the 48th minute. It was awarded because officials believed Tunisian Ellyes Skhiri had used his arm to block the shot.

The second penalty decision was awarded to Tunisia in the 75th minute after it was decided from a VAR review that Djenepo had handled the ball – but the penalty, taken by Wahbi Khazri, was ultimately saved.

Suddenly, after 85 minutes of the match, Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe strangely whistled at full time, causing confusion between the two teams as Sikazwe pointed towards the tunnel signaling the end of the game but quickly realized his premature move.

The game then continued, but not without drama as Sikazwe gave Mali midfielder El Bilal Toure a controversial red card for a slight challenge in midfield, despite consulting VAR he remained firm with his initial decision .

Now down to 10 men, Tunisia were looking for a late equaliser, although that was not to be the case as the game again came to an abrupt end early as Sikazwe whistled full time even though there were still 10 seconds remaining. 90 minutes – and therefore no stoppage time was played either.

The footage shows the aftermath, where lively Tunisia manager Mondher Kebaier made his feelings clear to the referee regarding the decisions that had been made. Clearly irritated that the game ended early, he tapped his watch in frustration.

Really chaotic scenes from start to finish.

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