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With the abolishment of away goal, Tottenham Hotspur would not advance to the UEFA Champions League final at the expense of Ajax Amsterdam in 2019 after 180 minutes. There would have been a double half extra time….

The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) abolishes the “away goals rule” from all its club competitions. “As of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 men, women, and youth competitions, in case of equality to the score and goal average between two teams there will be an extra time following by shots at goal from the penalty spot, the organization announce via its website on Thursday June 24, 2021.

“With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would be not decided on the number of goals scored away”, specifies UEFA, “but two 15-minute periods of extra time are played at the end of the second leg and in case the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, kicks from the penalty mark would determine the team which qualifies to the next stage of the competition”.

Since 1965 and the creation of the Champions League an away goal was considered double “to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie”. For instance, with a 1-1 tie outside and a 0-0 at home, the team scoring outside advanced. Similarly, a team winning the first leg 2-1 at home and losing the second 0-1 outside was eliminated because the away goal rule applied in favor of the team in front.

One of the last frustrating cases of applying of the away goal happened on April 30, 2019, on Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. The local club, Ajax had beaten Tottenham Hotspurs 1-0 outside in London two weeks earlier. In the second leg of that UEFA Champions League semifinal, the English team won 3-2 in Ajax’s home and advanced to the final, because the Lucas Moura’s three away goals counted for 6 as both teams had trois points and 0 goal average on the two matches.

Speaking about this new measure, the UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin acknowledged the unfairness of the away goal rule and its dissuasive influence over the team playing at home. “The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage”, he said. “There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored.”

By Guadel

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