Leicester City have a two-goal advantage ahead of the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 tie vs Rennes.
Goals from Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho at the King Power Stadium last night have put City into the driving seat going into the match at Roazhon Park. Should City maintain, or increase that lead, then it will see them qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.
However, one major change to UEFA competitions this season could alter the way that City approach the game in France. UEFA’s executive committee announced back in June that the away goal rule had been scrapped, meaning that there will have no extra advantage to Brendan Rodgers‘ side should they get a goal away from home.
Previously, the away goals rule was applied to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches. In such cases, the team which had scored the higher number of goals away from home was considered the winner of the tie and went through to the next round.
If the two teams had scored the same number of goals at home and away at the end of normal playing time in the second leg, extra time was played, followed, if needed, by a penalty shootout. The rule change means that should the aggregate score at the end of Thursday’s game be level, the tie will go straight to extra time, regardless of away goals.
It was decided that away goals held less importance nowadays, due to factors such as better travel conditions, better pitches and better stadium infrastructure. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin stated that “although there was no unanimity of views (on this issue), many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.”
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He added: “It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was. Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA executive committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”
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