No away goals in Conference League 2022: What happens if teams are tied on aggregate goals after second leg?
With the tiebreaker rules for knockout matches changing this season in European cup competitions, the two-leg series have a slightly different feel to them.
In the summer of 2021, UEFA announced its decision to scrap the away goals tiebreaker rule. To the dismay of some fans, goals scored on the road will not serve to break aggregate-goal ties after 180 minutes are played.
The rule had been in place since 1965, and the decision to change it has been controversial and a highly debatable topic.
Deep into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, we’re finally seeing the impact of the new sanctions.
What happens if teams are tied on aggregate goals?
With the new ruling, knockout ties are much more straightforward, given you don’t need to factor in away goals scored for both sides.
If the both teams have scored the same number of goals after two legs, then the game goes into 30 minutes of extra time, with a short break halfway through at the 15-minute mark.
If the two teams are still level on aggregate at the end of extra time, a penalty-kick shootout will take place to determine which team advances to the next round of the knockout stages.
Conference League matches impacted by rule change
Although none of the Conference League Round of 16 matches saw the elimination of the away goals tiebreaker come into play, the previous round did.
In the knockout playoffs the PAOK vs. Midtjylland series was tied 2-2 after the end of the second leg. Last year, that would have meant that the team with the most away goals (Midtjylland) would have advanced.
Instead, the new setup in 2022 sent the series into extra time, and eventually penalty kicks, with PAOK advancing 5-3 in the shootout. PAOK reached the quarterfinals of the competition.
Why did UEFA get rid of the away goals rule?
UEFA removing a ruling that was in place since the 1965-66 season was controversial, but the governing body had its reasons for the rule switch.
Originally, the away goal rule looked to encourage away teams to come out of their shell and attack, rather than just sitting deep and defending to avoid defeat.
Knowing that away goals could be the key factor in advancing to the next stage, teams playing away from home had something to gain by taking chances to score, which in itself, was intended to lead to a more open game.
But the UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin claimed that the rule now ‘runs counter to its original purpose’ in a statement justifying the rule change.
“The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965. However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years.
Ceferin added: “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.
“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.”
“Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”
UEFA competitions impacted by rule change
UEFA announced that all of its European club competitions, including men’s, women’s and youth tournament have all removed the away goal ruling.
Tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League will no longer feature the tiebreaker with extra time and penalty kicks used instead.