Why A Soccer Team Once Purposefully Scored On Themselves 149 Times

In sports, you play to win. You win when you score. In soccer, strikers often accidentally score their own goals and lose the game unintentionally. In a 2019 Premier League game, Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier faced severe humiliation for ridiculously mixing up with Spurs' goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (per The Daily Mail), putting the ball into his net (via YouTube), and gifting Chelsea a 2-0 win.

However, per Cracked, Madagascar club Stade Olympique L'Emyrne (SOE) accomplished a soccer rarity in 2002 by kicking the ball into its own net and deliberately losing 149-0 (that's one goal every 36 seconds!) to AS Adema in the last game of the Indian Ocean island's league championship. The match earned the dubious distinction of having the record for most own goals scored in a single match in soccer history, according to The Guinness Book of Records.

But why did the defending champions give up without a fight? There is a remarkable backstory behind the dramatic game that left the soccer fans amused and shell-shocked.

The Defending Champions Connived To Lose

According to The Guardian, SOE scored a goal for AS Adema after each kick-off as a protest over referee bias in the previous match, which cost their team the national championship. Per Cracked, during the penultimate match of the round-robin tournament, referee Benjamina Razafintsalama awarded a controversial penalty to Domoina Soavina Atsimondrano against SOE, which was subsequently converted. The decision resulted in a 2-2 draw and killed SOE's hope of a second consecutive title.

Had SOE won the match, the last match of the tournament between SOE and AS Adema would have decided the winner. Instead, AS Adema was crowned the champion due to the draw. Since they were no longer the title contenders, SOE coach Ratsimandresy Ratsarazaka allegedly organized the farce from the stands to express his anger, according to ESPN. Adema's players stood on the ground bewildered as the SOE players kept scoring one own goal after another throughout the match. Per Cracked, some fans who had come to watch the arch-rivals in action thronged the ticket booths to demand a refund.

The Repercussions Were Severe For The Bizarre Protest

Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne was a team to reckon with. According to The RSSSF, the 2001 Malagasy champions had shocked the nation with a first-round win over Petro Atlético of Angola and advancing to the second round of the African Champions League in the 2002 season. So, what did the former champions of Madagascar achieve by sabotaging their match? Disgrace, sanctions, and ban. 

While the draw cost SOE the national championship, the resentment cost the team their second-place title. The Malagasy Football Federation immediately suspended Ratsarazaka for three years. He was also banned from visiting any football stadium till 2005 (via The Guardian). SOE captain Manitranirina Andrianiaina was suspended until the end of the season along with goalkeeper Mamisoa Razafindrakoto, and strikers Nicolas Rakotoarimanana and Dominique Rakotonandrasana. Although the remaining players from Stade Olympique L'Emyrne and AS Adema received a stern warning, the referee got away scot-free.