Spectators at the soccer (association football) match in Antananarivo, Madagascar on October 31, 2002 witnessed history. As if it were guided by a homing device, the ball flew repeatedly into SO l’Emyrne’s goal, sending AS Adema’s score into unprecedented territory. When the game came to an end, the score at a staggering 149 to zero. SO l’Emyren scored more points in a game than any other team in history. Despite racking up a record-breaking number of points, it was the team that scored zero points that was the undisputed winner.
The background for this decidedly-lopsided game centered on a disputed call by a referee in an earlier game. Madagascar’s national championships were down to a four-team round robin playoff. SO l’Emyrne’s (SOE) was the defending champion and favored to reclaim the title. In the penultimate match, SOE was pitted against DSA Antananarivo. In a disputed call, the referee called a penalty against SOE, resulting in the match ending in a 2-2 draw.
Going into the final match, SOE was already out of the running for the title. Regardless of the outcome of the game, AS Adema was destined to walk away with the championship. That being the case, SOE decided to protest by sending an unmistakable message. The team threw the game, but they did more than merely fold up its defense; it actively worked to run up the score for the opposition.
With AS Adema and the fans watching in disbelief, SOE took control of the ball at each kick-off and sent the ball immediately into its own goal. As spectators cried out in protest and demanded refunds for their tickets, the score climbed steadily into the stratosphere.
Prior to that infamous game, the record for the highest score was the Arbroath / Bon Accord match for the Scottish Cup in 1885. That score was 36-0. SOE left that record in the dust within minutes of the start of its game.
When the game ended, it wasn’t just the players who were catching their breath. Scorekeepers had at least as much of a workout, trying to keep up. The final score was official at 149 to zero.
The end of the game wasn’t the end of the story, however. The Malagasy Football Federation (FMF) suspended the SOE coach, Zaka Be, for three years. Four of the team members, defender Mamisoa Razafindrakoto, the captain of the Madagascar national football team the “Scorpions”, SOE captain Manitranirina Andrianiaina, player Nicolas Rakotoarimanana and goalkeeper Dominique Rakotonandrasana were suspended until the end of the season, and banned from visiting stadia for the same period. All other players from both teams, received a warning and were promised dire consequences if there were any further problems from them.
With no other contender even coming close, the game, officially known as AS Adema 149–0 SO l’Emyrne, has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the highest-scoring association football (soccer) game in history.