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 Saturday, November 2, 2002 13:27 EST

Team repeatedly scores own goals to protest refs

[Reuters]

ANTANANARIVO -- Madagascan football authorities plan to take severe action against club Stade Olympique l'Emyrne, who scored a world-record 149 own goals in protest against alleged refereeing bias in a match on Thursday.

SOE lost the game 149-0 to AS Adema in the last game of the Indian Ocean island's league championship on Thursday.

SOE's coach Ratsimandresy Ratsarazaka orchestrated the protest from the stands as the Antananarivo-based side began repeatedly firing shots into their own net from the opening whistle.

The Midi Madagasikara newspaper reported Saturday that the club now faced severe sanctions for their bizarre protest in the match against Adema, who clinched the title last weekend.

SOE, last year's champions, deliberately scored one own goal after another in a pre-determined protest over refereeing decisions that had gone against them during the four-team playoff to determine the national championship.

SOE, AS Adema, US Ambohidratrimo and Domoina Soavina Atsimondrano (DSA) played out a round-robin tournament at Adema's home ground in Toamasina over 11 days to decide the title, with Adema securing the championship last Sunday.

The league crown went to Adema after SOE were held to a 2-2 draw by DSA in their penultimate match of the tournament, also on Sunday, with referee Benjamina Razafintsalama awarding a late and hotly disputed penalty against SOE, which saw them held to a draw and knocked out of the title race.

With the championship already decided, SOE decided to make an own goal protest but they are now likely to forfeit second place and qualification for next year's Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cup.

The newspaper said the farce led to spectators descending on the ticket booths to demand a refund.

The club would be charged by the Malagasy federation for their action and several key players could also face sanction, Midi Madagasikara said.

They include Mamisoa Razafindrakoto, who is captain of Madagascar's national side, which recently scored a surprise win over Egypt in the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Adema's players reportedly stood around looking bemused, doing nothing to stop the opposition from self-destructing. Radio Madagascar on Friday claimed the result represented a new world record score in a first class match.

SOE earlier this year caused a major upset in the African Champions League with a first round win over highly fancied Petro Atletico of Angola.


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