Away goals. Often moaned about and maligned by fans the rule that was brought in over 50 years ago is finally getting the credit it deserves. The rule is simply genius. The Champions League is a much richer and more exciting competition thanks to this rule and as we saw last night, thrilling endings are often down to the away goals rule.
Manchester City and Tottenham went toe-to-toe in what was the best Champions League game we have seen in recent years and the away goals rule played a huge part in that. The final few stages of the game were riveting and you simply could not take your eyes off it. That was all thanks to the away goals rule. If the rule did not exist, Tottenham would not have played so expansively, but more importantly, City would not have been throwing everything at Spurs in the final few minutes.
The likelihood of it being 4-4 on aggregate heading into the final few minutes without the away goals rule is low, but if it had got to that stage then there is no way it would have been as exciting at the end. Both teams would have likely settled for extra-time, not wanting to give anything away in such a big game, but this rule meant that City were out unless they scored.
Think back to some of the most dramatic moments from Champions League history. Andres Iniesta pinging in a last-second goal at Stamford Bridge to the dismay of the Chelsea fans. That goal made it 1-1 on aggregate and sent Barcelona through to the Champions League final, where they would beat Man Utd in Rome. The drama.
Manchester City v Monaco in 2016/17. A game that finished 6-6 on aggregate and thrilled every fan watching at home. City went out on the away goals rule but the drama was still there as the tide ebbed and flowed. This season, Manchester United dumped out PSG in the most dramatic of circumstances as Marcus Rashford rifled home a winning penalty during injury time in Paris.
All of these iconic moments simply would not exist without this fantastic rule. Long live the away goals.