How The Away Goal Rule Has Affected Previous Champions League Ties

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How The Away Goal Rule Has Affected Previous Champions League Ties

In this article, we have taken a look at some dramatic Champions League ties from down the years and offered our verdict on the affect that the away goal rule has had on them following the recent announcement that the away goal rule is set to be scrapped at the start of the 2021/22 season’s competition, with games that are level on aggregate after both legs going to extra time instead.

AS Roma 4 – 4 Barcelona: Quarter Final 2017/18 (AS Roma Through on Away Goals)

The first game on this list comes from the Stadio Olimpico, where AS Roma were in a desperate situation going into their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona in April 2018, having been beaten by the Catalonian club 4-1 in the first leg at the Nou Camp.

Own goals by Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas had put Barca ahead before Gerard Pique made it three just before the hour mark. Edin Dzeko then scored Roma’s away goal in the 80th minute, but Luis Suarez added a fourth just seven minutes later and looked to have put the tie in doubt for Eusebio Di Francesco’s side.

Little did we think coming into the second leg of this tie that Dzeko’s goal in Barcelona would mean so much, as it looked like a mere consolation goal, but, two goals in the opening hour of the game by firstly the Bosnian and then De Rossi from the penalty spot brought the score back to 4-3 before Manolas rose the highest to meet a Cengiz Under cross from the right-wing to put the Serie A side 3-0 up on the night and leading 4-4 on aggregate via the away goal Dzeko had scored at the Nou Camp.

Roma hung on and claimed the scalp of Barcelona in dramatic circumstances, keeping a clean sheet against an accomplished European outfit that boasted the likes of Messi, Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and co. If the away goals rule hadn’t of existed, then this tie would’ve gone to extra time and given Barcelona a second chance which they perhaps didn’t deserve, due to their shoddy performance at the Stadio Olimpico.

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BARCELONA TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2021/22 @ 12/1

Chelsea 1 – 1 Barcelona: Semi-Finals 2008/09 (Barcelona Through on Away Goals)

The next game to feature on this list is a happier memory for Barcelona fans in the Champions League semi-finals of 2008/09.

In the first leg of this tie, Chelsea had produced a spirited defensive display that had kept a clean sheet away at the Nou Camp, a pretty impressive record considering Pep Guardiola’s side boasted the likes of Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o up-front. The only thing that was missing from Chelsea’s performance was an away goal, meaning that alike Manchester United the year before, they would have to take the Spanish giants back to England and beat them in a one-off game.

Chelsea started well and took the lead in the 9th minute of the match thanks to a thunderous left-footed volley from outside the penalty that crashed in off the underside of Victor Valdes crossbar. The Blues pressed on and pushed for a second goal, but had a series of penalty appeals controversially turned down by referee Tom Ovrebo, before Andres Iniesta stepped up in stoppage time and fired a shot into the top-right corner of the goal from the edge of the box to send Barca into their first Champions League final since 2006.

Without away goals, we would’ve seen at least thirty minutes more of drama in this tie, which is ultimately what it might’ve required as neither team won either leg, but there wouldn’t have been the explosive clutch moment from Iniesta which sent Guardiola and his team into delirium on their way to their Champions League triumph against United in Rome that season.

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CHELSEA TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2021/22 @ 9/1

PSG 3 – 3 Manchester United: Round of 16 2018/19 (Man Utd Through on Away Goals)

Manchester United have had many memorable nights in the Champions League with perhaps only the 1999 Champions League final pipping this one in terms of drama and a late winner.

United came into the second leg of this tie as second-favourites, having lost 2-0 at Old Trafford via goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe, whilst seeing Paul Pogba sent off. Not many gave United a chance of progressing through to the quarter-finals as 106 teams had previously tried to overturn the same score deficit and all had failed, as well as the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had 10 first-team players missing for this match.

The Red Devils started strongly and capitalised on a short Thilo Kehrer back pass which saw Romelu Lukaku round Gianluigi Buffon and give United the perfect start after just two minutes before Juan Bernat scored an equaliser just 10 minutes later. Lukaku would then take advantage of another error by PSG as a long-range shot by Rashford was spilled by Buffon before the Belgian tucked away the rebound on the half-hour mark.

The second-half on the match was tense and edgy as the hosts knew an away goal would put them behind on aggregate for the first time in the tie, whilst United defended for their lives in the second half, as Angel Di Maria had a goal ruled out for offside, whilst Bernat hit the post late on, before an audacious stoppage-time effort from Portuguese right-back Diogo Dalot hit Kimpembe’s arm as the French defender turned away from the former Porto man’s fierce effort.

Typically, VAR intervened and awarded United the penalty as the French defender was deemed to have made himself bigger via the extended arm, giving Rashford the chance of a lifetime to send United through against all the odds. The United youth academy product hammered the ball into the left-hand side of the goal past Buffon to send the away end into raptures, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to come back from a 2-0 home leg deficit away from home.

Solskjaer’s side had done what looked like the impossible, if the away goal rule wasn’t there, then Rashford’s goal would’ve salvaged a draw but ultimately taken some of the edge off for PSG in the closing stages in terms of nerves, whilst United were the ultimate opportunists that night, scoring three of their four shots on target with just 27% possession to their name.

Champions League Outright Winners Tips

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MANCHESTER UNITED TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2021/22 @ 10/1

Champions League Outright Winners Tips

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PSG TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2021/22 @ 10/1

Manchester City 4-4 Tottenham: Quarter-Finals 2018/19 (Spurs Through on Away Goals)

Another classic tie from the 2018/19 season was Manchester City against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side led on aggregate coming into the second leg by a 1-0 scoreline, following Son Heung-min’s 78th-minute strike. This game had also seen Hugo Lloris save a Sergio Aguero penalty in the first-half, as well as Harry Kane leave the pitch injured following a collision with Fabian Delph.

The second leg at the Etihad Stadium was nothing short of breath-taking, as four goals in the opening 11 minutes of the match saw the score level at 2-2 on the night, as a Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the fourth minute before a brace for Son had put Spurs ahead after 10, only to concede 60 seconds later to Bernardo Silva.

Sterling then proceeded to put City ahead after 21 minutes, before Sergio Aguero got his name on the scoresheet by thrashing home a fourth goal for City on the hour mark, beating Lloris at his near post. The 4-3 scoreline made it plain and simple, Tottenham had to score despite struggling to cope with wave after wave of City attacks.

In the 73rd minute, second-half substitute Fernando Llorente bundled in a corner from the left-wing. However, there was a VAR check which was looking for a potential handball from the Spaniard, the whole stadium gasped its breath as the lengthy check carried on, before the goal was given following inconclusive evidence that deemed that the former Swansea City striker had scored using his thigh.

This match wasn’t done there yet, as Tottenham’s goal was put under siege from several City attacks, Christian Eriksen tried to pass the ball away under pressure in stoppage time, which ricocheted straight to Aguero off Bernardo Silva, who then squared the ball to Sterling to score what looked like a winner, but, City’s Argentinian striker was offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out and Spurs marched on to the semi-finals where they’d ironically also beat Ajax on away goals.

Realistically, if the away goal didn’t exist when this match was played, Tottenham would’ve likely succumbed to City’s pressure in extra time and we may in fact have ended up with a Liverpool versus City final that season in Madrid, showing that the away goal often adds to the drama of the competition as it offers unpredictability.

Champions League Outright Winners Tips

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MANCHESTER CITY TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2021/22 @ 5/2

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