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What Is the Away Goals Rule and How Is the Result Determined?

What is the away goals rule and how can you determine the final outcome? If you're not familiar with this rule, follow along with the article below. Wintips will detail this regulation in football.

Understanding the Away Goals Rule

What is the away goals rule? It's a rule applied to determine the final outcome of a competition between two teams played over two legs, consisting of one match at each team's home ground. This rule was first established in the 1965/66 UEFA Champions League season during a match between Budapest Honved and Dukla Praha. Since then, the away goals rule has been widely adopted and applied in various prestigious football competitions worldwide, including:

- UEFA Champions League

- Europa League

- FIFA World Cup qualifiers, CONCACAF Champions League, AFC Champions League, AFC Cup, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, CAF Champions League, and more.

Information about the Away Goals Rule in Extra Time

What is the away goals rule in extra time? In the event that the aggregate score of the two legs between two teams A & B is tied, for example, both matches end with a score of 2-2, resulting in an aggregate score of 4-4, and the number of away goals between the two teams is equal. Therefore, to determine the winning team, extra time or a penalty shootout will be conducted.

Whether the away goals rule applies in extra time depends on the specific regulations of each tournament. It can be divided into two situations: either applying or not applying this rule in extra time.

For instance, let's take a case where there are two legs between A & B:

1. The first leg is played at B's ground and ends 2-2.

2. The second leg at A's ground also ends 2-2 after 90 minutes of play.

Subsequent Actions Following Two Legs and a Draw

Afterward, both teams will play extra time under two scenarios:

- If the regulations allow its application: The team that wins in extra time will proceed. Or a penalty shootout will be conducted if the extra time results in a draw. In the case of a tied extra time with scores like 1-1 or 2-2, Team B will be considered the winner because they scored more away goals.

- If it doesn't apply: In this scenario, major tournaments typically don't use this rule to decide the result in extra time. The team that scores more goals in extra time will win. If the result is a draw, regardless of the score, both teams will settle the match through a penalty shootout.

Guidance on Methods to Determine the Outcome Using the Away Goals Rule

After understanding what the away goals rule is, the team that scores more goals when playing on the opponent's field will be the winning team. If the total number of goals in both legs is equal, it means that when the aggregate score between two teams is tied, the advantage will lean towards the team with more away goals.

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In cases where both teams play on the same field, each team will be considered the home team in one half of the match, and this rule will still apply. A classic example is seen in the UEFA Champions League semi-final between A & B. After two legs, the aggregate score is 1-1, but A advances because they scored an away goal in the second leg.

If, after two legs, both teams have an equal number of losses on their home turf with the same score, the second leg will continue into 30 minutes of extra time. If no further goals are scored during extra time, the decision will be made through a penalty shootout.

Issues with the Away Goals Rule

After grasping what the away goals rule is, we'll now discuss its drawbacks. Although this rule has been applied for a long time and is widespread in many football competitions, it still has some weaknesses and is the subject of debate. Here are some of the main weaknesses of this rule:

- Home bias: This rule may favor the home team. In two-legged matches, the home team has the opportunity to score goals at home in the first leg. This can affect fairness and competitiveness for the away team.

- Uneven advantage of home field: Teams may have different advantages at home. Conditions of the field, fan support, and familiarity with the environment can lead to more goals, influencing the final result.

- Trend towards safety play: Sometimes, the team with the away goal advantage from the first leg may choose to play it safe in the second leg. They may maintain the score or accept a small defeat. This can make the match less exciting and less competitive.

- Extra time and penalty shootout: The away goals rule can diminish the excitement of extra time and penalty shootouts. In decisive matches, teams tend to play more cautiously in extra time to avoid losing. Because the value of an away goal is extremely high, this can reduce the drama and fairness in deciding the result.

- Lack of consistency: The away goals rule is not applied universally across all tournaments and rounds. This creates inconsistency and difficulty in comparing results between different competitions.

Additionally, the away goals rule does not entirely address the unfairness in determining the result based solely on the number of goals. There are cases where the score and point calculation cannot accurately reflect the performance and ability of the teams.


Wintips has just explained in detail what the away goals rule is. We hope that through the information in today's article, you have a clearer understanding of the rules in football.

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