The greatest moments from the greatest rule

          Five of the Best: The away goals rule in European ties

          2021/06/07 13:36
          Connor Andrews

          In a new regular feature, Playmaker guides you through ‘Five of the Best’ footballing moments of any particular genre, and in this first edition, the away goals rule goes under the microscope.

          Recent news suggests we have likely seen the last of the away advantage, with Uefa going through the process of ratifying the removal of the rule, as its detractors claim it's outdated in the modern game due to higher quality travel arrangements and lesser quality stadium atmospheres.

          However, the decision could come as a gigantic loss to the game, with some of the most unbelievable moments in football history coming courtesy of the rule, and we run through our top five.


          Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (1-1 on aggregate)

          Even with two European Cups now to their name, if you really want to upset a Chelsea fan, just utter the name Tom Henning Øvrebø.

          Didier Drogba famously labelled it a disgrace in 2009, and even with over a decade to cool down he’d probably still be just as angry at the Norwegian referee turning down around five fairly blatant penalty calls as Chelsea dominated Barcelona.

          But after a scoreless first leg, Chelsea’s 1-0 lead was perilous, and the way Barca capitalised couldn’t have been any more glorious than Andreas Iniesta’s stunning finish.


          Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (5-4 on aggregate)

          The game that seriously marked Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool came when the German met his former side, Borussia Dortmund, at Anfield after a first leg that finished 1-1 in 2016.

          Liverpool looked dead and buried after Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund eased to a 2-0 first-half lead, and despite Divock Origi scoring at the start of the second half, the away goals rule as good as secured Liverpool’s exit as Marco Reus made it 3-1 with just over half an hour to play.

          Somehow though, the Reds managed to secure all four of the goals they needed, making the impossible possible.


          Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 on aggregate)

          Barcelona make yet another appearance after their 4-1 first win against Roma in 2018 moved them into pole position for another Champions League semi-final appearance.

          Edin Džeko’s first leg consolation proved crucial though, as he scored the opener back at the Stadio Olimpico before Daniele De Rossi made things interesting from the penalty spot.

          And with eight minutes to play, Kostas Manolas sent Rome, and Peter Drury, to the skies with a glanced header kicking of Barca’s steep climb down from the top of the game.


          Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (3-3 on aggregate)

          Back in the spring of 2019, pre-corona and pre-VAR, the Champions League featured the most epic week in its history, with heart rates only just calming down after Liverpool’s 4-0 comeback from 3-0 down against Barcelona the night before.

          Spurs looked set to follow up Liverpool’s heroics with a lifeless semi-final exit after succumbing to a 2-0 first-half deficit as Ajax's incredible crop of youngsters kept up their extraordinary run, but then Lucas Moura had his say.

          Two goals in four minutes from the Brazilian at the start of the second half got Spurs back in the tie, but they didn’t get any closer until the final kick deep into stoppage time, when Moura levelled the score, sending Tottenham to the final on away goals.


          Barcelona 6-1 PSG (6-5 on aggregate)

          The undoubted winner and the away goals rule’s finest hour, PSG appeared to be through to the Champions League quarter-finals against the toughest of opponents, beating Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc de Princes, shutting out a front line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

          Paris looked like they might be bottling it when they let in three goals in 50 minutes, but an Edison Cavani effort 12 minutes later appeared to have settled the tie.

          There were two minutes of regular time left to play with Barcelona needing three goals, and somehow they managed it, with Sergi Roberto’s 95th minute 6-1 winner making you nostalgic for the pre-VAR days, and soon, the away goals rule days.

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