The away goals rule in European club football is to be abolished from the start of next season, governing body UEFA has confirmed.
The rule, used since 1965, decided drawn two-legged games by favouring the team that scored the most away goals.
All ties level on aggregate at the end of the second leg will instead go to extra time and potentially penalties.
“It is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight,” said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
UEFA’s club competitions committee made the proposal in May and it has now been approved by the body’s executive committee.
It means games in the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League and Women’s Champions League will no longer use the rule.
UEFA says there is now a smaller gap between the number of home and away wins as well as home and away goals scored in European competitions compared to when the rule was introduced, reducing home advantage.
It says that is down to a number of factors including pitch quality, improved stadium infrastructure and new technology such as the video assistant referee.
“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,” Ceferin added.
“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.”
FIVE FAMOUS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AWAY GOALS WINS IN RECENT YEARS
- MAY 2019: AJAX 2-3 TOTTENHAM (3-3 ON AGGREGATE – TOTTENHAM WIN ON AWAY GOALS)
Tottenham reached their first Champions League final in the most dramatic of circumstances in May 2019. Trailing Ajax 1-0 from the first leg, Mauricio Pochettino’s side trailed 2-0 at half-time of the return game in Amsterdam and looked all certain to be knocked out.
Step forward Lucas Moura, who scored two goals in four second-half minutes to bring Spurs level on the night, before firing home a 96th-minute winner to complete his hat-trick and send them through to the final.
- APRIL 2019: MAN CITY 4-3 TOTTENHAM (4-4 ON AGGREGATE – TOTTENHAM WIN ON AWAY GOALS)
With Tottenham protecting a 1-0 lead from their quarter-final first leg against Manchester City, the two sides shared five goals inside a chaotic opening 21 minutes of the second leg. Sergio Aguero made it 4-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate in the second half to put Pep Guardiola’s side on course for the last four, before Fernando Llorente’s header edged Spurs ahead on away goals.
To add to the drama, Raheem Sterling saw his stoppage-time strike ruled out by VAR, leaving Guardiola on his knees in despair.
- MARCH 2019: PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-3 MAN UTD (3-3 ON AGGREGATE – MAN UTD WIN ON AWAY GOALS)
Manchester United became the first team in Champions League/European Cup history to overcome a 2-0 or greater home first-leg deficit when they stunned Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.
Marcus Rashford was the hero with a nerveless 94th-minute penalty to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate and send the Red Devils through on away goals, arguably securing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the manager’s job on a permanent basis in the process.
- APRIL 2018: ROMA 3-0 BARCELONA (AGGREGATE 4-4 – ROMA WIN ON AWAY GOALS)
Another thrilling second-leg comeback, this time from Roma as they overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress past Barcelona and go through to the semi-finals.
Defender Kostas Manolas scored the crucial third goal, heading in at the near post with eight minutes remaining to spark scenes of delirium inside the Stadio Olimpico.
- 2009 A STOPPAGE-TIME STRIKE FROM ANDRES INIESTA CANCELLED OUT MICHAEL ESSIEN’S EARLY GOAL AND EDGED BARCELONA PAST CHELSEA
A stoppage-time strike from Andres Iniesta cancelled out Michael Essien’s early goal and edged Barcelona past Chelsea and through to the final on away goals back in 2009, sparking scenes of chaos inside Stamford Bridge at full time.
It was all too much for a furious Didier Drogba who, frustrated at a number of refereeing decisions, launched a verbal tirade to referee Tom Ovrebo after the final whistle before swearing directly down a TV camera as he made his way off the pitch.