While the manner and timing of Rodrygo’s double cannot be underestimated, had the second been a tie progressing goal – rather than a goal that took the tie to extra time – the levels of drama would have been elevated further, showcasing the extra levels of jeopardy the away goals provided.
A new problem?
The removal of the away goals rule has however led to an unintended consequence. Teams that are at home in second leg ties are now benefiting from an additional 30 minutes of home advantage without the away team benefitting from any counterbalance measure.
As it happened, the away goals rule proved to be an effective leveller of home advantage in extra time. Between 2003 and 2021, in 239 UEFA club competition matches that went to extra time, home teams progressed in 52% of ties, reflecting a small advantage that is partially driven by seeding (though two teams that are level after 180 minutes are likely to be of similar quality).
However, in 40 ties this season, the home team has advanced 60% of the time. Excluding penalty shootouts from both figures, home teams have progressed outright via extra time in 35% of ties this season compared to 29% with the away goals rule.