Barbados 4–2 Grenada (partially found soccer match footage; 1994)
Barbados defender kicking the ball back with the goalkeeper in order to waste time, before scoring the infamous goal.
Status: Partially Found
On January 27th, 1994, the national soccer teams of Barbados and Grenada faced each other in a group stage match of the 1994 Caribbean Cup, a regional tournament for CONCACAF (North America's governing soccer body) teams in the Caribbean.
The game is infamous because of the fact that Barbados had intentionally scored an own goal to force overtime, in order to exploit a strange rule judging that all tie games would have a winner, and the winning goal in overtime would count double. Barbados' unusual strategy worked, and they advanced to the final stage.
The tournament was the sixth edition of its kind and was simply expected to be mostly ceremonial since the tournament did not qualify the top two teams for the upcoming 1996 Gold Cup in the United States. Generally, these kinds of tournaments have prize money (the tournament was sponsored by Shell), and the nations competing in the tournament generally lacked funding for sport in their countries, so there was incentive to win the tournament.
The tournament had a very unusual rule; any tie game would go to overtime, and the winning goal scored in overtime would not only end the game (golden goal rule) but count as two goals.
Heading into the match, Barbados and Grenada were drawn into a group of three with Puerto Rico; Grenada defeated Puerto Rico 2-0 through the frivolous golden goal rule, while Barbados lost their game to Puerto Rico 1-0. Grenada lead the group with three solid points, while Barbados needed to win by two goals to win the group.
The match was for the most part, average, taking place in Barbados National Stadium. The Barbados team scored two quick goals, establishing dominance and controlling the pace for the most part. This would change when in the 83rd minute, Grenada scored a goal and would have let the Grenadians advance on goal difference.
For the first few minutes, the Barbadians attempted to crack through the Grenada defense, but they mostly stayed strong. In the 87th minute, the Barbadians realized something; they could simply score an own goal, and force over time. The Grenadians would be tired and mentally shocked, and one goal would send them through since they counted double.
Barbados defender Terry Sealey and goalkeeper Horace Stoute kicked the ball between each other, in order to waste time. Eventually, they scored the own goal, which would send the game to overtime.
With the game now tied, Grenada realized Barbados plan; the Grenadians decided they'd score an own goal in their own net, in order to force a 3-2 victory for Barbados, and advance any way. This began the bizarre position of Barbados trying to prevent Grenada from scoring an own goal, and at the same time, trying to prevent Grenada from scoring an actual goal, since a Grenadian victory would have ensured Grenada passing through. The entire situation became a mess, with confusion on which side to defend, before over time was forced.
Finally, over time was forced; with the Grenada team both mentally and physically exhausted, Barbados scored the winning goal, sending them to the final stage. Meanwhile, Grenada was knocked out of the tournament.
Aftermath and Footage
Due to the relative obscurity of the tournament, and the Internet era being at its infancy, the game didn't receive much attention outside the Caribbean, although articles of the game were published in UK newspapers The Guardian and The Times.
The lack of immediate attention and information contributed the game to becoming somewhat of an urban legend in soccer circles, though articles by the book Sports Law and the website Snopes verified this game did take place.
In a post-game press conference, the Grenada manager was quoted as:
- "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 rule was abolished for the final stage of the tournament, and never used again; in their group, Barbados finished third, behind Trinidad and Tobago and Guadeloupe, rather ironically drawing against Guadeloupe and Dominica, and losing to eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago.
To date, no full footage of the game has resurfaced, and instead only bits of footage are available on the internet.
- Database information on the match Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Cracked article on how the game was won Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Page 65 of The Edge: The War against Cheating and Corruption in the Cutthroat World of Elite Sports Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Article on the background of the game Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- An article on The Conversation about the game Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Bleacher Report article on the match Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Article on own goals scored in soccer Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- 2011 Guardian article on oddities in sports Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- The-Cauldron article about the game Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Snopes article on the game Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Sports-Nova article including a post-match interview Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Weebly article mentioning the end of the Golden Goal rule Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- Final standings of the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup Retrieved 3 Feb '18
- A Quora thread asking about footage from the match Retrieved 3 Feb '18