Barbados 4–2 Grenada (1994 Caribbean Cup qualification)
|After golden goal extra-time|
|Date||January 27, 1994|
Barbados 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, as well as the two teams' respective positions in the tournament, it was alternately in Barbados's, then Grenada's, best interest to score an own goal. The result has been described as "one of the strangest football matches ever".
The organizers of the tournament imposed a rule requiring all matches to have a winner and had chosen an unusual variant of the golden goal rule, which meant that the first goal scored in extra-time not only won the match, but also counted as double. Barbados started the match needing to win by a margin of at least two goals to qualify for the final tournament. When 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 thanks to the unconventional golden goal rule. This meant that for the last 7 minutes of the match, Grenada was trying to score on either their own goal, or the Barbados goal, as either outcome (either 3–2 or 2–3) would have advanced them to the finals. Ultimately, Barbados was able to prevent Grenada from scoring, obtain the 30-minute time extension, and score the golden goal as hoped.
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. Barbados, Grenada, and Puerto Rico were drawn into Group 1. Tournament organizers had decided that any matches where the score was tied at the end of the normal 90 minutes should go to extra-time, with a golden goal to count as double. 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. 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 table was as follows:
The match started off routinely, and Barbados scored two goals, establishing the two-goal winning margin they needed. In the 83rd minute, however, the game changed when Grenada scored a goal. This late goal would take Grenada through to the finals unless Barbados could score again. Barbados attempted to score for the next few minutes, but because they were unable to, they switched to a different strategy, of tying up the game so that they could try to achieve the two-goal margin in extra-time. In the 87th minute they stopped attacking, and the defender Terry Sealey and the goalkeeper Horace Stoute passed the ball between each other before intentionally scoring an own goal.
Now the game was at 2–2, with just three minutes of normal time left. The Grenadian players caught on to Barbados's plan, and realized that they would advance in the tournament by scoring a goal in either net. This left the match in the highly unusual position of no clear side of the field for one team versus the other, but rather one team trying to score a goal in either net, and the other team trying to defend both. For the next three minutes, Barbadian players successfully defended both sides. Still tied at 2–2, the game went on to extra-time, where the winning "Golden Goal" would count double — so Barbados only had to score once to qualify for the 1994 Caribbean Cup. Thorne scored the winner for Barbados and they advanced to the next round.
The final table was:
The game did not receive much attention, although reports were published in the United Kingdom in The Guardian and The Times. The story has since been told in the 2005 book Sports Law. The lack of immediate attention to the subject may have contributed to the game becoming something of an urban legend in the sport.
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".
The golden goal rule was used five times over the course of qualification in 1994, and then never used again in the Caribbean Cup.
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.
|Trinidad and Tobago||3||2||1||0||7||0||+7||7|
- 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.
- "Who are the greatest runners up?". The Guardian. May 24, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Gardiner, Simon (2005). Sports Law. London: Routledge Cavendish. pp. 73–74. ISBN 1-85941-894-5.
- "Shell Caribbean Cup 1994". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. July 24, 2003. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- "Sixth Column". The Guardian. February 5, 1994.
- Andrew Longmore (February 1, 1994). "Absurd Cup Rule Obscures Football's Final Goal". The Times.