What is Away Goal Rule? And How Does it Work

The away goal rule is a unique feature in football/soccer that can significantly impact a match’s outcome. Introduced in the 1960s, it determines the winner of a two-legged tie in knockout competitions. In this article, we’ll look at the away goal rule, how it works, and its impact on the game.

What is the Away Goal Rule? 

The away goal rule is a tiebreaker used in knockout competitions in football/soccer. In two-legged ties, where each team plays one game at home and one away, the away goal rule determines the winner if the aggregate score is tied after both legs.

How Does the Away Goal Rule Work? 

The away goal rule works by giving more weight to goals scored away from home. In a tied aggregate score, the team that scored more goals away from home is declared the winner. If both teams have scored the same number of away goals, the tie is decided by extra time and penalties if necessary.

Examples of the Away Goal Rule in Action

The away goal rule has been used in various competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Copa Libertadores. There have been numerous instances where the rule has played a decisive role in determining the winner of a tie.

The Pros and Cons of the Away Goal Rule 

While the away goal rule can excite knockout competitions, it also has drawbacks. Some argue that it can discourage teams from attacking away from home, while others feel it can be unfair to teams that score more goals overall.

Alternatives to the Away Goal Rule

Several proposals have replaced the away goal rule with other tiebreaker methods. These include using extra time, a golden goal, or simply going straight to penalties if the aggregate score is tied.

The Future of the Away Goal Rule 

Despite the criticisms, the away goal rule remains a popular tiebreaker in football/soccer. However, some competitions, such as the UEFA Europa Conference League, have recently removed the rule.


Overall, the away goal rule is a unique feature of football/soccer that can significantly impact a match’s outcome. While it has its pros and cons, it remains an integral part of knockout competitions and will continue to be a topic of debate among football/soccer fans and pundits alike.

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