Egypt and Algeria’s hate match of 1989

This day in football history

Coca-Cola later created an ad campaign, trying to sugar-coat the memory of the Hate Match

On 17 November 1989, Egypt met Algeria at Cairo Stadium to decide who would advance to the 1990 World Cup. The hosts won 1–0, but the match is best remembered for the ensuing violence, earning it the nickname “the Hate Match.”

The two sides had a long history of dislike, dating back to the 1950s when Egypt refused to play matches intended to support Algerian independence. By the 1970s and ’80s, brawls had become a staple of their matches.

By 1989, Algeria were considered the better team, having gone to the two previous World Cups and finishing in third place at the 1988 African Cup of Nations. In order to book their ticket to the 1990 World Cup, they needed only a point against Egypt, who had not qualified for the World Cup since 1934.

With a capacity of 100,000, Cairo Stadium was close to packed a full four hours before kickoff. The home supporters were rewarded with a fourth-minute goal from Al-Ahly striker Hossam Hassan, which turned out to be the match winner. After the final whistle, Algeria’s players, coaches, and officials surrounded the referee, then began throwing plants and dirt into the stands. At a post-match reception, Algerian midfielder Lakhdar Belloumi struck the Egyptian team doctor, blinding him in one eye.