Did a Soccer Player Intentionally Score on His Own Goal So That His Team Could Lose and Get a Better Playoff Matchup?

SPORTS LEGEND: A Thailand player intentionally scored on his own goal to give his team a better match-up in a tournament.

Teams strategically not trying to win games to help get what they feel are better playoff match-ups is not a strange occurrence in the world of sports.

In the late game of the 1999 Pro Basketball season, the Miami Heat were playing the New York Knicks. Both teams had qualified for the NBA Playoffs, and coming into the game, the Heat were the #1 seed and the Knicks were the #8 seed, so they would be playing each other in the first round. The Knicks, however, happened to match up well against the Heat, and in fact had eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs the previous year (when the Knicks were the #7 seed and the Heat the #2 seed). The Knicks entered the night only a game behind the #7 seed, so a victory (and a loss by the team currently at #7) would put the Knicks at #7. The Heat wanted that to happen but the Knicks did not, so both teams ended up resting most of their star players. The Knicks won, but not before they had learned that the #7 seed (who was playing earlier that night) had already won so that the game did not matter. The Heat’s fears came true when the Knicks DID, in fact, eliminate them in the playoffs that season.

So there is something to be said for getting the match-up that you’d prefer to see.

That was the case for Thailand and Indonesia when they faced each other in the Semi-Finals of the 1998 Tiger Cup (a competition between South East Asian teams now called the ASEAN Cup, named after the Association of South East Asian Nations). Whoever won the match would face off against Vietnam, who was the host city that year and had been playing particularly well recently. The loser would get a more favorable match-up against Singapore.

So for most of the game, neither team tried particularly hard to score at all, until the referees began giving out cautions. So both teams scored two goals apiece.

Then, with very little time in the game, Thailand captain Mursyid Effendi (see below for a picture) turned and scored on his own goal, giving Indonesia the victory.


The League was NOT happy at all, and fined both teams $40,000 and Effendi was banned for life from the sport.

In a bit of poetic justice, Thailand lost its match against Singapore (granted, Indonesia lost to Vietnam, as well).

Here are the video “highlights” of the Thailand/Indonesia game…

Thanks to ksalinda for the YouTube clip!


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

2 Responses to “Did a Soccer Player Intentionally Score on His Own Goal So That His Team Could Lose and Get a Better Playoff Matchup?”

  1. There is an older match where something more bizarre happened: In 1994, in a match for the Caribbean Cup Tournament, Barbados went against Granada. In that particular year, it was decided that if the match ended in a tie, a golden goal in extra time would count as two goals in the standings. Barbados needed to win by two or more goals to advance, and was winning 2-0 when, with seven minutes remaining Granada scored and went 2-1.

    Barbados needed two scenarios to advance:
    1) Score one goal to win 3-1.
    2) Or go to extra time, score and win 4-2 for standing purposes.

    As we can see, Barbados needed to score one goal ON EITHER SIDE.

    And they did, on their own goal. The Granada team realizing this, tried to do the same, and for the remaining minutes Granada tried to score on any goal, and Barbados was defending both of them.

    Barbados’ gambit eventually paid off, as they scored in extra time.

  2. You are absolutely correct, Juan.

    I’d have featured that one, but I believe Snopes.com already did a piece on that game, and I don’t like repeating their pieces.

    Here’s the piece they did on it!


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