The away goals rule is something that has baffled fans for decades, but with European competitions returning this week, the rule will be in use in its purest form.
And it has come into play in the Europa League round of 32 game between Arsenal and Olympiacos, after the Greek side scored an away goal at the Emirates Stadium to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s goal in Greece in the first leg.
But what is the away goals rule and how does it work?
We take a look, below.
What is the away goals rule?
The away goals rule was introduced in the 1965 European Cup Winners Cup, as a method to both encourage teams to play attacking football away from home, as well as eliminated the need for a third game in the event of a draw.
In both the Champions League and Europa League, if two teams are level on aggregate after 180 minutes, the team that has scored the greater amount of goals away from home will go through.
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For instance, Manchester United eliminated PSG from last year’s Champions League despite the two sides being level at 3-3 on aggregate, and Tottenham memorably eliminated Ajax at the semi-final stage after Lucas Moura’s late effort.
In United’s case, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford, but pulled off a stunning comeback to win 3-1 at the Parc des Princes and seal a place in the quarter finals.
Lucas Moura celebrates his dramatic winning goal
However, if the two sides are level after 180 minutes and have scored an equal amount of away goals, 30 minutes of extra time will be played.
This is where it can get confusing however, as away goals still come into play during extra time. If the away team were to score in the 30 minute period, the home side would then have to score twice in order to progress.
Do away goals count as double?
This is a common misconception amongst fans due to the importance of away goals, but no, they do not count as double. If your team is 4-0 down and pulls a goal back, the score doesn’t suddenly become 4-2.
Is the away goals rule being scrapped?
As of right now, UEFA has not scrapped the rule, despite talks reviewing it taking place in 2019, but there have been calls from several managers to get rid of it over the years.
In 2015, Arsene Wenger branded the rule ‘’outdated’’, after Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco.
He told reporters after the second leg: ‘’It should count, maybe, after extra time.
‘’This rule was created in the 60s to encourage teams to attack away from home, but football has changed since then and the weight of the away goal is too big today.’’
Outspoken Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has also been a critic of the rule. In 2018, he said at a press conference: ‘’UEFA needs to have a…