Six of the craziest football matches ever - from chaos in the fog to AFCON drama
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Anything can happen within a 90-minute football match, which is why it’s often referred to as “the beautiful game.”

From the almighty comebacks with just minutes to spare to the underdogs taking home the title, as well as the devastating losses - we’ve seen it all over the years.

But as with any game of football, certain events can happen which can make the match memorable, but not for the football, rather for the controversies, as well as the unique circumstances that unfold on and off the pitch.

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Here is a rundown of the six craziest football matches ever:

Arsenal v Dynamo Moscow - 1945

From time to time, weather can disrupt the match calendar if conditions are too treacherous to play in - but back in 1945, it seems that this wasn’t a concern at all.

Heavy fog had descended over White Hart Lane (it was played there as Arsenal’s Highbury ground was an air-raid control centre during the Second World War) yet despite the conditions, the referee decided not to cancel the game, Medium reported.

Within the first 33 seconds of the match, Dynamo took the lead but by halftime, they were behind 3–2. While the 55,000 spectators could barely see what was going on in the match, players soon used the foggy setting to their advantage by making strong tackles which perhaps would have been given red card had they been made on a clear day.

Dynamo also allegedly played with 12 people on the pitch at one point (some report the number being 15) due to an error with substitutions.

Arsenal also bent the rules too as player George Drury was sent off, but eventually, ran into the fog and continued playing for the rest of the match.

In the end, Dynamo with their 12 footballers came out on top, winning 3-4.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - 1976

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

During a Divison One match in 1976 where Aston Villa played Leicester City at Filbert Street, central defender Chris Nicholl found the back of the net four times.

While four goals sound like an epic win for both Nicholl and Villa, unfortunately for them, two of the goals landed in the back of their own net, putting his opposition ahead twice, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Nicholl later called the third goal of the match, which was an unstoppable header as the “best goal I ever scored,” he told the Birmingham Post in 2006.

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

Kuwait v France - 1982 World Cup

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After an impressive 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), Kuwait were looking to achieve an upset by beating France in their second match at the 1982 World Cup, as Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the prince of Kuwait and also the President of the nation’s football association watched on in the stands.

It wasn’t to be as France led 2-0 in the first half before scoring the third goal in the 48th minute though Kuwait managed to defend and pulled a goal back in the 75th minute, though any hope of a comeback soon disappeared when France’s Alain Giresse scored their fourth goal.

As a result, Kuwaiti players and staff quickly complained about the referee and thought France’s goal should be disallowed because the Kuwait players stopped as they thought the referee blew the whistle when it was actually a whistle in the crowd.

Even the Kuwaiti FA president Prince Fahid came down from his seat and got involved. Incredibly, the referee overruled his initial decision and disallowed the goal, much to the anger of the French team.

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

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

Bena Tshadi v Basanga -1998

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A match in October 1998 between Bena Tshadi v Basanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo had the most tragically and unfortunate turn of events when a freak strike of lighting killed 11 Bena Tshadi players in the midst of the match.

The game was tied at 1-1 against visitors Basanga in the eastern province of Kasai when a real bolt from the heavens struck, The Guardian reported.

“Lightning killed at a stroke 11 young people aged between 20 and 35 years during a football match,” the daily newspaper L’Avenir in Kinshasa reported at the time.

Meanwhile, 30 other people were injured with burns but most miraculously the newspaper also reported those on the Basanga team “curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed.”

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

Vitebsk v Naftan - 2008

Many enjoy a few bevvies when watching the football, however, you don’t expect the referee to be trollied on the job - but that’s exactly what happened in 2008 when Vitebsk played 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 against Luxembourg in 1999 and just the year before was voted the best referee in Belarus.

What made this situation even more bizarre, was footage showing Shmolik in the second half slouching back and not moving around the pitch to keep with the game, instead refereeing the match from the centre circle.

Things got stranger went he began to randomly blow his whistle and “gesture like a clown” as people soon realised the reason behind his condition, he was then confronted by an official who then escorted him off the pitch while Shmolik waved to the crowd as he struggled to stand by himself, the Evening Standard reported.

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

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

Tunisia v Mali - 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Most recently, the match between Tunisia v Mali in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations made headlines over 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 match had two contentious penalties along with a red card. One of the penalties, taken by Ibrahima Kone, gave Mali the lead in the 48th minute. It was awarded because officials thought that Tunisia’s Ellyes Skhiri used his arm to block the shot.

The second penalty decision was awarded to Tunisia in the 75th minute after it was ruled from a VAR review that Djenepo 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 blew his whistle for full-time, causing confusion among the two teams as Sikazwe pointed towards the tunnel signalling the end of the game but soon realised his premature move.

Play then continued, but not without drama as Sikazwe controversially gave Malian midfielder El Bilal Toure a red card for a mild challenge in midfield, despite consulting VAR he stuck firm with his initial decision.

Now down to 10 men, Tunisia was looking to bag a late equaliser, though this wasn’t to be as the game was abruptly stopped early once again as Sikazwe blew the full-time whistle even though 10 seconds of the 90 minutes still remained - and so no stoppage time was played either.

Footage shows the aftermath, where the animatedTunisia manager, Mondher Kebaier made his feeling clear to the ref about the decisions that had been made. Clearly angered at the fact the game finished early, he tapped his watch in frustration.

Truly chaotic scenes from start to finish.

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