Some rules in football are subject to change. While fans may engage in arguments about their fairness, the game itself is constantly evolving, continually enhancing its global fan following.
Over the years, notable goal-related rules have been modified, such as the introduction of the offside rule and the removal of the sudden-death goal rule.
However, a more recent alteration has caught our attention: the change in the away goals rule within the Champions League!
What was the away goal rule in the past in the Champions League?
Since the very beginning, the rule was that if both teams finished with an equal score over the two legs, the team that scored more goals away from home would secure a place in the next round.
Many intense matchups revolved around that rule, with teams battling it out over two legs – one at each team’s home ground.
On April 13th, 2021, the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich (aggregate score 3-3) marked the last instance where a victory was determined by the away goals rule in the Champions League.
PSG advanced to the quarterfinals because they scored 3 away goals, while Bayern managed only 1 away goal.
You can watch the match on Youtube here.
What is the away goal rule in the Champions League now?
The current away goal rule in the Champions League states that if the aggregate score is level after 2 legs, the game will progress to 2 additional halves of 15 minutes each, regardless of the number of goals scored away from home by each team.
Football pundits may continue to debate this change, but in my opinion, this rule seems fair.
The first time the new rule affected a Champions League match was during the 2021/22 first qualifying round.
It was a game between Connah’s Quay Nomads from Wales and Alashkert from Armenia.
They played extra time even though Alashkert had scored more goals away from home. Eventually, Alashkert still moved forward after scoring in the extra time.
Since the rule change, there have been only two matchups in the knockout rounds that needed extra time.
Both happened in 2022 and both involved the eventual champions, Real Madrid.
In the quarterfinals against Chelsea, the teams were tied 4-4 in total goals.
In the semifinals against Manchester City, the teams were tied 5-5 in total goals.
In these cases, the new rule meant that away goals didn’t play a role in the outcomes.
Check out Real Madrid’s incredible road to victory that year in the video below: