Crazy defender recreates legendary Zaire free-kick

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Dave Fawbert

Never mind David Beckham's efforts, Zaire defender Mwepu Ilunga was responsible for probably the most memorable free kick ever back in 1974.

During a World Cup match in West Germany against Brazil, he famously rushed out from a defensive wall to simply boot the ball away, earning a yellow card in the process. He was widely ridiculed, but the move was actually deliberate, as a protest against President Joseph Mobutu's withholding of player bonuses for the country, now known as DR Congo.

Ilunga, who died last year, said, “I was aware of football regulations. I did not have a reason to continue getting injured while those who will benefit financially were sitting on the terraces watching. I know the rules very well but the referee was quite lenient and only gave me a yellow card.”

Now though, 41 years on, Andy Yiadom, playing for League Two side Barnet, has unintentionally paid his own tribute to the famous kick in a match against Northampton at the weekend. Getting frustrated at the Cobblers' messing around before taking a free kick late on in the game with the score at 3-0 to Northampton, he promptly rushed out from the wall and kicked it away before squaring up to one of the would-be takers.

Yiadom earned a yellow card for his efforts - which led to an always-entertaining brawl between the two teams - with a red card somehow avoided; presumably as the referee appreciated this new addition to the rich heritage of free kick booting.

That wasn't the end of the football comedy this weekend though: Peterborough's Jack Baldwin managed to score a truly bizarre own goal to give Sheffield United an equaliser - heading the ball into his own net despite lying on the ground at the time. Sensational stuff.


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Dave Fawbert staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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