Have you ever heard of a football team who intentionally scored an own goal to win the game? I bet not! This bizarre football incident took place in Caribbean Cup, 1994 when Barbados performed this strange but purposeful event against Grenada in the last match of Group 1.

The 1994 Caribbean Cup was the fifth edition of the tournament and was played in Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados and Grenada were drawn in Group 1 along with Puerto Rico.

The tournament organizers imposed two unique rules:

  • If a game ends in a draw it will be headed to the Extra Time and will be decided in Golden Goal.
  • The Golden Goal counts as Double i.e. +2 goal difference for a single goal.

Before the match, the group table was as follows:

Barbados 0:1 Puerto Rico

Grenada 2:0 Puerto Rico (After Extra Time)

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

 

As a result, Barbados had to win the match by two goals to proceed to the next round. They were comfortably leading 2-0 until the 83rd minute when Grenada pulled one back. Grenada in this case could win or even lose by one to qualify, so they sat back and went to ultra-defensive mode to finish the game happily with a 2-1 defeat.

Barbados felt the pressure and found it difficult to score past a 10-man Grenada defense. So they deliberately scored an own goal to tie the game at 2-2 with an intention to score in the extra time to regain a two goal advantage as per the above mentioned rules.

Grenada understood the strategy and tried to score in either of the ends to bring the scoreline back to one goal  (+/- 1) difference. But the fans witnessed the craziest scene ever when six of the Barbadians went forward and started protecting their opposition’s goal to prevent them scoring an own goal within the last few moments of 90 minutes.

Their strategy paid off as the Grenadians failed to score in either of the ends and the match headed to the extra time. Eventually, Barbados scored the decisive Golden Goal in the extra time and earned a spot in the next rounds!

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

 

Take a look at the video of the incident below.

Grenadian manager James Clarkson was devastated after the match:

“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 tournament organizers realized their mistake and rescinded the golden goal rule from the next edition of the Caribbean Cup. Barbados were eventually knocked out from the tournament in the next round after finishing third in Group A followed by Trinidad and Tobago (who went on to lift the Cup) and Guadeloupe.

 

If you know any such bizarre football story, share it with us, in the comments below.

Photo by stevendepolo

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