Egypt went on to win the game 4-0 and ultimately lifting the title.
In what is sure to be the craziest news in football today, former Algerian football manager Rabah Saadâne has revealed that the reason why Egypt beat Algeria 4-0 in the 2010 African Cup of Nations semi-final is because Algeria let them win.
“The match was 100% gifted to Egypt,” claimed Rabah Saâdane on an Algerian TV show.
“I will explain it to you, they sent me the message to lose to Egypt and I declined to do so. They told me that our Egyptian friends need to win the Africa Cup of Nations and we are going to the World Cup, let them have it so that they don’t get more problems back home,” revealed Saâdane.He claims that the Algerian team was instructed to lose the match against his will, and that if it wasn't for him, the loss would have probably been more embarrassing. “It was just two months after Omdurman. I refused to sell my country. I was in charge and I refused. When we went on the pitch I understood what was going to happen from the performance, it doesn’t matter if we lost 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0."
“I have no regrets, it is in the past,” concluded the 72-year-old.
This match came just two months after the famous crunch-tie between the two nations to qualify for the 2010 World cup, which Algeria won 1-0 in Sudan.
Egypt and Algeria have a long, fierce history in football. Though the rivalry gained intensity in the famous 2009 matches between the two to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, it can be traced back to 1989, when Egypt beat Algeria in a decisive qualifying match for the 1990 World Cup. That match was filled with controversy, with Algerian fans rioting against the referee in the stands, an Algerian player attacking an Egyptian fan, and an Algerian player convicted for a glass attack which blinded Egypt’s team doctor in one eye.
In 2010, Egypt and Algeria were set to play a two-leg encounter that would ultimately decide who would be going to the World Cup. Following a game free of controversy in the first leg in Algeria, which Algeria won 3-1, it was Egypt’s turn to host their African neighbors, and all hell broke loose. When the Algerian team arrived in Cairo, and were on their way to their hotel, their team bus was stoned, leading to broken windows and three injured players. The match still went on as scheduled, with Egypt beating their rivals 2-0, but it was events unrelated to football that made headlines, with six Algerian fans killed in the chaos following the match.
Finally, as the two-legged tie was a draw, Egypt and Algeria had to play a final crunch-tie match to decide who would be going to the 2010 World Cup, which FIFA decided had to be played on neutral grounds. In Sudan, many reports came out of Egyptian fans being attacked, to the point of needing to be escorted by the Sudanese army. After the match, the Egyptian Football Association filed a complaint with FIFA against the Algerian football delegation indicating that “Egyptian fans, officials, and players put their lives at risk before and after the game, under threat from weapons, knives, swords and flares.
Main image from King Fut