Barbados 4–2 Grenada (1994 Caribbean Cup qualification)

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1994 Caribbean Cup qualification
Group A
After golden goal extra-time
DateJanuary 27, 1994
VenueBarbados National Stadium,
Saint Michael, Barbados

On January 27, 1994, the Barbados national football team and Grenada national football team played against each other as part of the qualification round for the 1994 Caribbean Cup. Due to an unusual scoring rule and the two teams' respective positions in the tournament, it became alternately in the best interest of each team to score an own goal. The result has been described as "one of the strangest football matches ever".[1][2]

The organizers of the tournament had imposed a rule requiring all matches to have a winner, and this was enforced with an unusual variant of the golden goal rule: the first goal scored in extra-time not only won the match, but was also worth two goals. Barbados started the match needing to win by a margin of at least two goals to qualify for the final tournament, and after Grenada scored late in normal time to bring the scoreline to 2–1, Barbados deliberately scored an own goal to force extra-time, where they could get the two-goal winning margin they needed courtesy of the unconventional golden goal rule.[1] This resulted in an unusual situation: for the last three minutes of the match, Grenada was trying to score on both goals, as either outcome (3–2 or 2–3) would have advanced them to the finals, while Barbados had to defend both goals. Ultimately, Barbados was able to prevent Grenada from scoring, thus forcing extra-time, and scored the golden goal to win the match.

The outcome of the match was criticized by Grenadian manager James Clarkson, who felt that his team had been cheated out of advancing to the finals. However, FIFA chose to not punish Barbados given the unusual tournament rules.

Background[edit]

The 1994 Caribbean Cup was the fifth edition of the Caribbean Cup and was played in Trinidad and Tobago. Qualification took place in various other locations around the Caribbean in early 1994.[3] At the time, FIFA had been testing variations on tournament rules,[4] and the tournament organizers had decided that any matches where the score was tied at the end of the normal 90 minutes would go to extra-time, which would feature a golden goal worth two points.[1] Barbados, Grenada, and Puerto Rico were drawn into Group 1, and on January 23 the round-robin tournament kicked off in Barbados, with the home team falling 0–1 to Puerto Rico. Two days later, Grenada defeated Puerto Rico 2–0 after a golden goal in extra-time. This put Grenada at the top of the group with three points and a +2 goal difference.[3] Thus, the only way that Barbados could advance to the finals would be if they could beat Grenada by a margin of at least two goals.

Before the match the standings were as follows:

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Grenada 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
 Puerto Rico 2 1 0 1 1 2 −1 3
 Barbados 1 0 0 1 0 1 −1 0
Barbados 0–1 Puerto Rico

Grenada 2–0 (a.e.t.) Puerto Rico

Match[edit]

The match was played at the Barbados National Stadium in Saint Michael.[2]

The match started off routinely and Barbados scored the first two goals, establishing the two-goal winning margin they needed. In the 83rd minute, however, the game changed when Grenada scored a goal, which would take Grenada through to the finals unless Barbados could score again.

Barbados attempted to score for the next few minutes, but as time ran out they switched to a different strategy - tying up the game so that they could try to achieve the two-goal margin with the golden goal in extra-time. In the 87th minute they stopped attacking, and Barbados defender Terry Sealey and goalkeeper Horace Stoute passed the ball between each other before Sealey intentionally scored an own goal.

Now the game was at 2–2, with just three minutes of normal time left. The Grenadian players caught on to the Barbadians' plan, but then they realized that they would advance in the tournament by scoring a goal in either net since they would still qualify for the finals with a 1-goal loss. This left the match in a highly unusual position, with Grenada trying to score a goal in either net and Barbados trying to defend both. For the next three minutes, Barbadian players successfully defended both sides.

Still drawn at 2–2, the game went on to extra-time, where the winning "golden goal" would count double — thus, Barbados only had to score once to qualify for the 1994 Caribbean Cup. Trevor Thorne scored the winning goal for Barbados, and they advanced to the next round with a score of 4-2. [2]

The final table was:

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Barbados 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 3
 Grenada 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 3
 Puerto Rico 2 1 0 1 1 2 −1 3

Response[edit]

The game did not receive much attention, although reports were published in the United Kingdom in The Guardian[5] and The Times.[6] The story has since been told in the 2005 book Sports Law.[2] The lack of immediate attention to the subject may have contributed to the game becoming something of an urban legend in the sport.[1]

In a press conference after the game, Grenadian manager James Clarkson said:

I feel cheated. The person who came up with these rules must be a candidate for a madhouse.... The game should never be played with so many players running around the field confused. Our players did not even know which direction to attack: our goal or their goal. I have never seen this happen before. In football, you are supposed to score against the opponents to win, not for them.[2]

The double golden goal rule was used five times over the course of qualification in 1994, and the Caribbean Cup organisers scrapped the rule after the tournament.[3] Although the Barbadians' own-goal was highly unconventional, FIFA decided not to penalize the team because they were playing optimally under the circumstances.[7]

Post-match[edit]

Barbados went on to achieve third place in Group A of the 1994 Caribbean Cup after drawing against Guadeloupe and Dominica and losing to the home team Trinidad and Tobago, which went on to win the tournament.[3]

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Trinidad and Tobago 3 2 1 0 7 0 +7 7
 Guadeloupe 3 1 2 0 7 2 +5 5
 Barbados 3 0 2 1 3 5 −2 2
 Dominica 3 0 1 2 1 11 −10 1
Barbados 1–1 Dominica

Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 Barbados

Guadeloupe 2–2 Barbados

See also[edit]

  • Thailand 3–2 Indonesia, where an Indonesian defender deliberately scored an own goal so his team did not have to face the host Vietnam in the semi-finals of the 1998 Tiger Cup.
  • AS Adema 149–0 SO l'Emyrne, where SO l'Emyrne players deliberately scored 149 own goals in protest of refereeing decisions that had gone against them in the previous match.
  • Disgrace of Gijón, where a 1982 World Cup game between West Germany and Austria was played out as a mutually agreeable 1–0 win to West Germany as this result ensured both teams qualified for the next round.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Who are the greatest runners up?". The Guardian. May 24, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gardiner, Simon (2005). Sports Law. London: Routledge Cavendish. pp. 73–74. ISBN 1-85941-894-5.
  3. ^ a b c d "Shell Caribbean Cup 1994". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. July 24, 2003. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Making Sense of Data in the Media, p. PT163, at Google Books
  5. ^ "Sixth Column". The Guardian. February 5, 1994.
  6. ^ Andrew Longmore (February 1, 1994). "Absurd Cup Rule Obscures Football's Final Goal". The Times.
  7. ^ Kendall, Graham; Lenten, Liam J. A (June 30, 2016). "When sports rules go awry" (PDF). European Journal of Operational Research. 257 (2): 377–394. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2016.06.050. Retrieved May 10, 2020.