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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Africa Conquers Europe in First Meet

LISBON, Portugal -- Africa beat Europe 2-1 in the first ever match between the two continents in Benfica's Stadium of Light.

Heavy rain and live transmission on television kept the crowd in the 100,000-capacity stadium to about 8,000. But those hardy fans were rewarded with fine individual play in a disjointed match that kicked off the European Union's Year Against Racism.

The match itself was symbolically started by Eusebio, the greatest player in Benfica's history and the first African player to make any impact in Europe, back in the 1960s.

Ironically, the 78th-minute winning goal was scored by a player with Benfica's arch-rival Sporting Lisbon.

Mustapha Hadji, selected once for the French under-21 side before electing to play for his native Morocco, began and ended the move.

He intercepted the ball in his own half and ran 40 meters before playing a one-two with Souleymane Sane and cracking in a shot that gave Russian goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov no chance.

Africa took the lead after 14 minutes with a superbly taken goal by Ghanian Abedi Pele, the African side's captain.

The ball was worked from the back with a succession of crisp passes before being played out wide on the left to Angolan forward Paulao. He picked out Pele on the edge of the penalty area, and he gave Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar of Ajax no chance with a perfect lob.

Europe had to wait until just before halftime to equalize.

German captain Juergen Klinsmann played a delightful ball into space for Frenchman Vincent Guerin, and the Paris St. Germain midfielder made no mistake with a shot on the turn.

Klinsmann had been unlucky not to score after 38 minutes with a superb volley on the turn following marvellous work by Rui Costa. Costa was a ball-boy for Benfica when he was a youngster.

Manager Mawade Wade of Senegal and coach Rabah Madjer of Algeria could hardly conceal their delight after the win.

"We wanted victory more than the European team, and we deserved it," Wade said. "But it was not just a victory for the African team on the field. It was also a victory for the millions of Africans who were watching the match on television.

"Europe dominated Africa for many years and believed they were superior, but Europe now understands that things have changed between the two continents. We have the players and we have the talent, and we could put out 10 teams like the one we fielded tonight."

"We worked very hard for the victory. No one handed it to us," Madjer added. "I am very, very proud and very happy for my players. The victory proved a lot tonight."

Pele said afterward: "This was a really important victory for Africa, which has shown the world that we can compete with the best and beat them. I am very happy about my goal, but more importantly, I am very happy with the victory."


Inter Milan's bid to reach the Italian Cup final ran into serious trouble when Roy Hodgson's men were held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli.

Inter's Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano scored after five minutes of the semifinal first leg, but Napoli was level six minutes later when Brazilian Andre Cruz curled in a magnificent 20-yard free-kick.

Inter must now win or draw 2-2 in Naples on Feb. 26 to go through or face the same fate as neighbors AC Milan, who earlier went out on the away goals rule against Vicenza.


Spanish Cup holders Atletico Madrid will take a comfortable 2-0 lead to next week's fourth round, second leg tie with Compostela thanks to a hotly disputed goal by Kiko Narvaez in the dying minutes of Wednesday's first leg.

Atletico went ahead through an eighth-minute strike by Toni Munoz, but they were set for an uncomfortable return leg until Kiko's goal, which was given as good despite the fact that a linesman was clearly waving for offside.

(For other results, see Scorecard.)