Never forgets Barbados vs Grenada 1994; an infamous game where two teams came together to leave for posterity one of the most surreal episodes of the sport.
What was so strange about it? Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a team defending the opponent’s goal to prevent it from scoring a goal against it.
But before we go into history, let’s first have some context.
The 1994 Caribbean Cup.
The 1994 Caribbean Cup was the fifth edition of the Caribbean Cup and was played in Trinidad and Tobago.
The organisers of the tournament had decided for all matches to have a winner. Any matches where the score was tied at the end of the normal 90 minutes would go to extra-time, which would feature 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.
This unusual rule, led to the birth of the most strange matches ever played.
Barbados vs Grenada 1994.
Going into the last game of the qualifying group in a Caribbean Cup tournament (the1994 Shell Caribbean Cup), Barbados needed to beat Grenada by two goals to stay in contention and reach the next stage.
Barbados took an early 2-0 lead, but Grenada made it 2-1 with seven minutes remaining. Barbados were heading out unless they scored a goal—any goal!
Barbados attempted to score for the next few minutes, but as time ran out they switched to a different strategy: draw the game so 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. It’s 2-2!
And yet this wasn’t even the strangest thing that happened in the match that day. Now, Grenada needed to score a goal — at either end — to avoid extra time and to go through to the final. The Grenada players, initially stunned by the goal, suddenly realized they could score an own goal in their own net, in order to force a 3-2 victory for Barbados, turned around and headed for their own net.
Now the comedy really starts as the Barbadians had anticipated this move and rushed to defend the Grenada goal — prevent them from scoring an own goal — and also their own goal post.
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.
With four minutes into extra time, Barbadian striker scored the winning goal to send Barbados to the final.
In a post-game press conference Grenada manager James Clarkson was furious. “I feel cheated, the person who came up with these rules must be a candidate for the madhouse.
“The game should never be played with so many players on 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 your opponents in order to win, not for them.”
The rule was abolished for the final stage of the tournament, and never used again.
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