The Strangest Match Ever Played?
January 27th 1994 saw possibly the most bizarre match ever played. The match in question took place between Barbados and Grenada during qualification for the Carribbean Cup. Barbados went into the match needing to win by at least two goals to top the three team group on goal difference. Any other result would see Grenada progress. In a bizarre tournament rule, group games were not allowed to end in a draw, and would enter a period of golden goal extra time if level after ninety minutes. Oh, and if a golden goal was scored, it would count as two goals!
And here begins one of those stories that were it in a film, you would dismiss it as implausible in the extreme!
All was progressing along nicely, and according to plan for Barbados. Going into the latter stages, they had the required 2-0 lead, and were on course to progress. And then, with 83 minutes on the clock, Grenada scored to halve the deficit, and with it put themselves in pole position.
Barbados – now on the verge of elimination – realised that with the bizarre rule about the golden goal, they would stand a better chance of breaking down the mass defensive ranks in front of them during a thirty minute extra time period rather than the seven minutes that were left. So, after a spell of passing between a defender and his goalkeeper, the defender lashed the ball into the net to level at 2-2.
Grenada suddenly realised the situation aswell, and were desperate to avoid extra time. A goal at either end of the pitch in the remaining minutes would see them through! And so, spectators were witness to one of the most incredible spectacles in football history; one team desperately trying to score at both ends, while the other frantically tried to prevent it by defending both goals!
As it goes, Barbados did manage to keep the score at 2-2, and force the extra time they craved. And it only took them around five minutes to score the decisive golden goal, giving them a 4-2 win, and progression to the final tournament. Quite a match!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Barbados finished third in their four team group in the finals, drawing with Guadeloupe and Dominica, but losing to hosts and eventual winners Trinidad & Tobago.