UEFA have announced that they will be scrapping the away goals rule for all of their competitions, starting from next season. The away goals rule, which was formed in 1965, had been used to decide draws between teams in two-legged European ties by handing an advantage to the team that scored more goals away from home. Many fans and people within the football industry have been calling for the away goals rule to be abandoned for years as they believe it had a negative impact on tactics teams would use when holding onto an away lead.
Aleksander Ceferin stated that,
“It is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight” and that“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” adding that, “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…It is fair to say that home advantage is now no longer as significant as it once was.”
The competitions that will be affected by the removal of the away goals rule next season include the men's and women's Champions League, the Europa League and the brand new Europa Conference League. The first impact we will see of the new ruling is during the qualifiers for these competitions but the big moment will be when we reach the knockout stages of the above-mentioned tournaments and just how it affects the performances of the teams in each of the two legs.
Memorable Away Goals Victories of the Past
Over the years we have seen some very memorable away goal wins for clubs participating in the Champions League and the Europa League that will leave a lasting memory in many football fan's minds, here is a selection of some of our favourites…
Barcelona against Chelsea in 2009
Arguably, the most famous, or infamous, of modern-day away goals victories has to be Barcelona against Chelsea in 2009. Chelsea secured a goalless draw at the Camp Nou and headed back to Stamford Bridge with genuine hope in their heart, only to be left distraught by the performance of referee Tom Henning Ovrebo and a dramatic last-gasp goal from Iniesta which sent Barcelona through.
Tottenham Hotspur against Man City in 2019
In their 2019 Champions League campaign, Tottenham secured not one but two famous away goals victories but the one we are looking at right now came against Pep Guardiola's Man City. Even after winning the 1st leg 1-0 in London, Tottenham headed to Manchester as the underdogs. The 2nd-leg wasn't anything like the first, it was open, attacking, and end-to-end, finishing 4-3 to Man City. However, it was a scrappy goal from Spanish striker Fernando Llorente 20-minutes from time that earned Tottenham their place in the semi-finals.
Man Utd against PSG in 2019
The game that earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the permanent position as manager of Man Utd could have been more dramatic. The Red Devils found themselves 2-0 down with an away leg in Paris to come and nobody gave them a chance of progressing. However, Man Utd ran out 3-1 winners that night, securing their away goals victory in the 94th-minute via a penalty that was cooly placed home by Marcus Rashford under immense pressure from the jeering PSG fans.
Monaco against Man City in 2017
Man City and Moncao produced two fantastic legs in 2017, totaling 12-goals between them. Pep Guardiola's side secured a 5-3 win at the Etihad and everyone thought that would be enough for the Premier League side to progress but Mbappe and Monaco had other ideas. The Ligue 1 side stunned Man City on the night, winning by three goals to one and progressing through to the next round courtesy of the away goals rule.
Bayern Munich against Man Utd in 2010
In 2010, Man Utd were aiming to make it through to their third-straight Champions League final but came up against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. United wouldn't have been too unhappy to lose the 1st leg in Germany 2-1, knowing the importance of away goals, but despite winning back at Old Trafford, it was Bayern Munich that progressed via the away goals rule. Arjen Robben dealt the knockout blow, scoring Bayern's second goal on the night to secure an aggregate score of 4-4.
Roma against Barcelona in 2018
In 2018, Roma claimed one of the most shocking away goal wins in Champions League history as the Italians overturned a 4-1 deficit to knock out the Spanish giants, Barcelona. Who would have thought that one away goal in a heavy defeat against Barcelona, could actually prove critical in the aggregate scoreline. Greek centre-back Kosta Manolas earned cult status amongst the Roma fans thanks to his headed goal to make it 3-0 to the Serie A side and 4-4 on aggregate.
Tottenham Hotspur against Ajax in 2019
Tottenham are back on the list for what was an even more dramatic away goals victory than the one they earned against Man City in the same year. Tottenham lost 1-0 in their own backyard against the Dutch side and then found themselves 2-0 down at half-time in Amsterdam. All hope looked lost before Lucas Moura scored twice in the second half to bring the scoreline back to 2-2 on the night and then went and completed his hat trick in stoppage time to pull off the comeback of all comebacks, as Spurs went through via the away goals rule.
Porto against Juventus in 2021
Just last season, Porto took on Juventus and lead 2-1 after the 1st leg in Portugal. The 2nd leg was even more dramatic, swaying from one direction to the other with the teams eventually playing out another 2-1 scoreline, this time Juventus won and the game went into extra time. Sergio Oliveira struck a 115th-minute goal that stunned the Juventus players who realised they would now have to score twice in the space of 5-minutes to remain in the Champions League. Something the Italians failed to do.