AFCON exploit 2006: Cameroon vs Côte d’Ivoire the longest penalty shootout in history

AFCON exploit 2006: Cameroon vs Côte d’Ivoire the longest penalty shootout in history post thumbnail image

With just a few days to go before the kick-off of the Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, 2024, Let’s take a look back in time with one of the most memorable matches at the AFCON. In 2006, in the quarter-finals of the AFCON in Egypt, the confrontation between Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire went down in history as the longest penalty shoot-out of the competition (12-11).

The context of the Cameroon – Côte d’Ivoire match

On the evening of February 4, 2006, at the Military Academy stadium in Cairo, Egypt, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire faced off in the quarter-finals of the 25th Africa Cup of Nations. The two teams were announced as favourites for overall victory. With the continent’s two best strikers in their ranks, Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba, the two goal scorers were a joy to behold. At the time, the two strikers were the pride of FC Barcelona and Chelsea respectively.

As fraternal enemies, this confrontation is always special. A few months earlier, in Cameroon, the Elephants had succeeded in eliminating the Indomitable Lions from qualification for the 2006 World Cup after Pierre Womé had missed a penalty and yet, the outcome of this match was once again decided by a penalty.

As expected, the match was tightly contested, with both teams well in place, leaving no space for the two big stars. Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o each had an opportunity to shine, but to no avail. At the end of normal time, the score was goalless (0-0). The suspense of the evening in Cairo remained intact. Right at the start of extra time, in the 92nd minute, Bakari Koné opened the scoring after an Elephants onslaught. But the joy was short-lived. The Indomitable Lions rebelled and came back on the scoreboard in the 95th minute through Meyong Ze. Nothing more happened until the referee blew his whistle, calling for the 22 players to take penalties. At that moment, the fans in the stadium had no idea that they were about to witness the longest penalty shoot-out in the history of the African Cup of Nations.

A total of 23 shots were taken.

Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba were the first to hit the target to boost the confidence of their team-mates. This was followed by 10 shooters on each side, all of whom managed to score. Now that the round has been completed and all the players have struck, including the goalkeepers, the continent’s two greatest stars are back at it again. Samuel Eto’o, the tournament’s top scorer with 5 goals, was back at it again, sending the ball into the Egyptian sky. All Didier Drogba had to do was convert his penalty, and Côte d’Ivoire were through to the semi-finals of the AFCON. Advancing with his captain’s armband, the former OM striker did not hesitate and sent the ball into the back of the net, putting an end to this interminable session (12-11).

Côte d’Ivoire reach final on penalties

After winning the AFCON twice in a row, in 2000 and 2004, the Indomitable Lions were once again held back in the quarter-finals, as they were in 2004 when they lost to Nigeria. For Côte d’Ivoire, the adventure continues. Didier Drogba’s team-mates knocked out Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the last four. In the final against host nation Egypt, the Elephants returned to the penalty shootout, but this time the outcome was different. Didier Drogba and Bakari Koné missed their penalties, and the Pharaohs went on to win their 5th FIFA World Cup.

Source: SNA

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