FEATURE: Scoring the deliberate own goals!?!


There are many candidates for the most bizarre football match ever played. Tennis results, or other strange and unexpected incidents is littered all over the history of football. But one match distinguish itself. The match between the national teams of Barbados and Grenada in 1994.

27th of January the teams face each other at Barbados National Stadium. In a group consisting of Barbados, Grenada and Puerto Rico, Barbados lost their match to the puertoricans, while Grenada beat them 2-0. That meant Barbados had to beat Grenada with at least two goals to top the group, and qualify for the Caribbean Cup Finals in Trinidad&Tobago that year.

And the “Bajan”, as the Barbados are called, were well on their way with a 2-0 lead, when Grenada put one back in the 83rd minute, and regained the top spot in the group on better goal difference. The home team now desperately looked for a third goal, but the grenadians parked the bus, making it seemingly impossible for Barbados to score that vital goal with just a few minutes left on the clock.

When an own goal is golden

With just three minutes left of normal time, Barbados instead passed between them in their own area. The fullback Eyre Sealy and goalkeeper Horace Stoute casually passed the ball back and forth, until Sealy hammered it past his own goalie to make it 2-2.

What? Yes, you read it right. And, yes, he did it on purpose too. Here’s the catch (and pay attention!);

For the tournament, the organizers had come up with a revolutionary idea, probably made while lying in a hammock, downing too many colourful drinks while puffing on Jamaican flora. First, all group matches had to have a winner. For that, if a draw at full time, extra time with a decisive golden goal, or a penalty shootout, would settle it. But the brilliant part was that a golden goal counted as two! An incentive for attacking play turned out more successful than anticipated though…

At first, the Grenada players couldn’t understand why Sealy and his teammates were so pleased with their own goal. But then it dawned on them. Instead of chasing a goal the right way with just three minutes to go, Barbados made it 2-2, forcing extra time, where they would have another thirty minutes to score a goal. And one would be enough, as it counted for two!

Double Trouble

Grenada now desperately tried to score a goal before normal time was out. In both ends! If they also scored an own goal, it would end 3-2 to Barbados, leaving Grenada as the group winner on goal difference! But the “Bajans” were prepared, and defended brilliantly at both ends! For the spectators, it surely was a strange and confusing minutes, as Grenada first attacked one way, and then the other.

But Barbados held on for a draw, and of course got their Golden Goal in extra time, sending them to the Finals on goal difference.

–        I feel cheated! The persons responsible for this rule should be out in a mental institution! The match shouldn’t have been played with our players not knowing which goal to attack! Football is about scoring on the opposition, not on yourself! , the Grenada coach complained after the match.

They filed a complaint, but it was turned down, since the rules were even for both teams. Barbados didn’t get far in the tournament, but the famous goal scorer, Sealy, later became the head coach of the national team. He never passed on his unorthodox tactics, however.

Here’s a video of the incident…



It is not the only case where a team deliberately scores an own goal, though. In the Tiger Cup in 1998, Indonesia and Thailand were both secured advancement from their group before they met in the final group match. Both wanted to avoid winning it, however, as the team that topped the group would meet the hosts and huge tournament favourites Vietnam in the next match (semifinal).

In the last minutes, both teams tried to score an own goal, and it was Mursyid Effendi who succeeded, scoring past his own goalkeeper to give Thailand the lead 3-2.

Both teams lost their semifinals, however, while Vietnam lost the final to unfancied Singapore. FIFA wasn’t amused, and gave Effendi a life time ban on international matches, and also one year at national level. Both teams got a fine of $40.000 for violating the spirit of football.




The record for scoring own goals is hard to beat, though. SO l’Emyre(SOE) lost 0-149(!) to AS Adema after scoring all the goals on themselves. That is still the highest score in a top level match, beating the old record of 36-0 from 1885 (when goals were scored the normal way).

The reason was that SOE just managed a draw in their previous match against DSA, where the away team received a dubious penalty at the end. The result meant that SOE lost their chance to win the Madagascan league title, and that the big final against winners Adema didn’t matter. Hence, they used the match as a protest against poor and unbalanced refereeing by scoring an impressive amount of goals in their own net.

The Magagascar Football Association suspended SOE’s coach for three years, while several players for the rest of the season not only were banned from playing, but even to attend a match as spectators! Apparently, they have learned, as the goal average in the league fell drastically afterwards.


Pal Odergard

Click on the name above to follow Pal on Twitter