Wednesday, December 5, 2007

ASEC Mimosas' Impressive Record

I'm a regular reader of the Guardian Unlimited's weekly The Knowledge articles. The editors attempt to answer interesting questions about world football, like 'has a journalist ever won an international cap?' or 'who is the most prolific corner goalscorer of all time?'

Along the way, they manage to deliver witty bits of football intelligence that make you go, 'Hmmm ...'

This particular question-and-answer definitely made me tilt my head and rub my chin some.

"What is the longest run of league games undefeated in world football?" wondered Jamie Ainge back in early 2005. "I ask because I saw Piers Morgan on TV suggesting that Arsenal were the best team ever because they went a season without losing. I thought the AC Milan side of the mid-90s went something like three years undefeated?"

So what do you think the answer is?

I guess I gave it away in the headline, but it had to do with ASEC Mimosas, also known as ASEC Abidjan, especially in international club competitions.

Here's the answer:

Milan's unbeaten Serie A run lasted a massive 58 league games, and took place between May 19 1991 and March 21 1993, before they lost 1-0 at home to Parma. That, however, is still a long way short of the world record, which is held by Asec Abidjan of the Ivory Coast.

Boasting a side featuring numerous Ivorian internationals, Asec went 108 matches unbeaten between 1989 and 1994. For most of that period they were managed by Philippe Troussier. When their winning streak did eventually come to an end - via a 2-1 defeat by SO Armée - the backlash was immediate: they crushed their next opponents 11-0.


108 matches ... 108 MATCHES! That's amazing.

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