World Championship2018

“Our players did not even understand which gate is better to score the ball”: the story of an unusual football match

The famous confrontation between the national teams of Barbados and Grenada in the framework of the Caribbean Cup.

Players of the Barbados national team graze in their own penalty area

The last games of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup left the spectators and fans with negative impressions due to the too boring game of some teams that already went to the next stage of the tournament. For example, between the teams of England and Belgium, a whole struggle “for defeat” unfolded, in order to reach the weaker rival at the stage of the playoffs.

However, in the history of football there were also far more curious cases, when teams had to make strange decisions to go to the next stage of the competition. One of the most unusual stories occurred on the match between the national teams of Barbados and Grenada in the qualifying stage of the Shell Caribbean Cup 1994.

In the qualifying tournament there were a number of strange rules:

  • In any match of the group stage there must necessarily be a winner
  • In the case of a tie in regular time, the match goes according to the rules of the “golden goal” until one of the teams scores the winning goal. If no one scores for extra time, then the winner is determined in the penalty shootout
  • “Golden goal” is considered for two regular goals

In the first group faced the teams of Barbados, Grenada and Puerto Rico. According to the regulations, the only team taking the first place is in the next stage of the competition. After two matches played, the Grenada and Puerto Rico teams scored 3 points each, and Barbados completed the standings with a single defeat.

Group A table before the last match

There was one crucial match between the teams of Barbados and Grenada, which could completely change the alignment in the group and allow the Barbados to reach the final stage of the tournament. For this they needed to win the team of Grenada with a difference of at least two goals.

January 27 at the National Stadium in Barbados began the most interesting match of this tournament. Quite quickly players of the national team of Barbados scored twice in the gates of Grenada, thereby securing a way out of the group. This alignment did not suit the players of the opposing team and they began to attack the opponents’ gate. Scoring a return goal was obtained only at 83 minutes.

The return goal against the national team of Barbados. The score of the match 2 – 1

The situation in the game was radically changed and now the team of Grenada came out. Barbadians rushed to the attack and tried to score the third goal before the end of the match, but they did not succeed. At the 87th minute, the Barbados team realized that thanks to the rule of the “golden goal” they have a chance to win with a difference of two goals in extra time. To do this, they just need to score a goal and bring the match to a draw, making the score 2 – 2.

Defender of the national team of Barbados Terri Sieley and goalkeeper Horace Stout began to drag the time, giving passes to each other in their own penalty area, and after Sielley scored the famous ball into his own net, providing the national team with extra time and a chance to score a “golden goal”.

The player of the national team of Barbados scores a goal.

The referee added 4 minutes to the main time of the match, which means that Grenada players still had time to change everything. They came up with a brilliant plan. It turned out that now they do not care what kind of goal to score the ball, since even a defeat with a score of 3 – 2 will allow them to reach the final part of the tournament by goal difference. As a result, the last minutes of the match turned into a real show. Grenadists tried to score the ball in any direction, and the players of Barbados defended their own goal, and the gate of opponents from an own goal.

Barbados successfully survived the onslaught of Grenadians and the main time of the match ended with a score of 2 – 2. The game moved to an additional 30 minutes of the game, in which the player of the national team of Barbados still managed to score a “golden goal”.

Winning goal in the gates of Grenada

The match ended with a score of 4 – 2 in favor of Barbados, thereby providing the national team with an exit in the final stage of the tournament.

I feel fooled. The person who came up with these rules, the most place in the loony bin. Our players did not even understand which gate is better to score the ball: their own or others’. I’ve never seen this before. In football, as a rule, players must attack the gate of rivals, and not their own.

James Clarkson
coach of Grenada

The rule of the “golden goal”, considered for two, was used a total of 5 times in the qualifying stage. After the match of Barbados – Grenada, it was canceled in the final stage of the tournament and was never used again in the Caribbean Cup.

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