Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tim Vickery in South America

Imagine if Didier Drogba had missed that chance against Barcelona last week at the end of the first half. It was Chelsea's only shot on target in the match. Had it not gone in, would their approach in the second half have been bolder? I am inclined to doubt it. From a Chelsea point of view, scoring was great - but even better was stopping Barcelona get on the score sheet. The away goals rule was introduced to encourage adventure from the visiting side and, for a while, seemed to be successful. But there is a sense now that it often has a very different effect - giving the home side in the first leg a powerful incentive not to concede. There are those in Europe who argue that the rule has outlived its usefulness, that in a continent where journey times are short there is no need to offer such a benefit to the away side. In South America things are different. For a start, the continent is bigger. Journey times are huge, and there are conditions such as altitude and temperature differences which make it hard for the visitors.

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