In the world of football, the battle for glory frequently reaches its pinnacle as the season comes to an end. Sometimes situations arise where two people stand at the top of the table with the same points. How is a winner decided in these situations? Well in this kind of intriguing situation, in which the winner and runners-up of the league ends up with the same number of points, there are certain rules by which a winner between the two can be determined.
In the past, the football world has encountered situations where two teams have acquired the same number of points at the end of the season. Let us now look at the rules which come to play in such situations and act as a differentiator to decide a winner between the two teams:
1. Goal Difference:
According to this rule, the team with the higher goal difference is ranked higher. A higher goal difference means the difference between goals scored and goals conceded. This method aims to reward teams that have scored more goals and conceded fewer goals throughout the season.
An example of a team that won a league due to goal difference is the 2011-2012 season’s Manchester City. They won the English Premier League in the. In that season, Man City won the league title on goal difference. They finished level on points with their neighbors and arch-rivals, Manchester United. But Man City had a superior goal difference, which ultimately secured them the championship.
2. Goals Scored:
According to this rule, if the goal difference is also equal, then the team that scored more goals is ranked higher. This rule further emphasizes the attacking strength of a team.
An example of a team who won a league due to goals scored is Atlético Madrid who won La Liga in the 2013-2014 season. Their league victory was based on their superior goal-scoring record. Atletico finished level on points with both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. But they had scored more goals throughout the season, which allowed them to clinch the championship.
This rule is applied if the goal difference and goals scored are still equal. The results of the head-to-head matches between the tied teams are considered. The team that has performed better in their direct encounters like more points or a better goal difference is ranked higher.
2006-2007 season’s Inter Milan is a team that has won a league Italian Serie A due to its head-to-head record. Inter won the league title based on their superior head-to-head record against their closest rivals, AS Roma. Both teams finished the season with the same number of points. But Inter Milan had secured more points in their direct encounters with Roma. This gave them the edge in the final standings.
4. Play-Off Match:
In some cases, if the above rules do not provide with a clear winner, a play-off match may be organized to determine the final ranking between the tied teams. Although this rule is not applicable in many leagues. In most football leagues, tiebreaker rules such as goal difference, goals scored, and head-to-head record are used to determine the winner when teams finish with equal points. Play-off matches are comparatively rare in league competitions.
An example of a league that has implemented play-off matches to determine the winner is the Football League Championship in England. In the 2004-2005 season, the Football League Championship introduced a play-off match to determine the winner between Sunderland and Wigan Athletic. Both teams finished the season with the same number of points. For this, a play-off match was scheduled at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In that match, on May 15, 2005, Sunderland emerged victorious with a 3-1 win, securing the Championship title.
Supratim Banerjee is a football content writer at FirstSportz, currently pursuing B.COM from University of Calcutta.
Supratim has been following the sport since 2010. He is a huge Barcelona and Argentina fan. He follows other like Cricket, WWE as well.
Apart from sports writing, Supratim is very much into travelling, as he likes wandering to new places and knowing new people and their untold stories.
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