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Barbados vs. Grenada 1994 - The most bizzare football match ever played

The current Barbados team
The current Barbados team
Aditya Tiwari
Modified 04 Jun 2020

The way to win in football is quite simple at its heart, score as many goals as possible by kicking the ball between the posts of your opponents. The team which scores the most such goals past the opponent's goalkeeper wins the football match. However, in an infamous game between Barbados and Grenada in 1994 this logic was turned on its head. 

Going into the last game of the qualifying group in a Caribbean Cup tournament (the1994 Shell Caribbean Cup), Barbados needed to beat Grenada by two goals to stay in contention and reach the next stage.

A draw after 90 minutes would result in extra time, whereas anything less than winning by two goals would enable Grenada to enter into the next round. It seems simple enough but a very quirky rule was introduced by the governing body of the tournament.

The rule introduced stated that games with a draw would proceed to extra time, in which a goal would be counted as two goals and will also signal the end of the match as it will also count as a golden goal.

This supposedly 'simple rule' led to one of the weirdest football matches ever witnessed.

Football stages absurd drama

Barbados were able to take an early 2-0 lead but Grenada made it 2-1 with seven minutes remaining in regulation time. Grenada now only had to see to it that Barbados does not score another goal to stay on in the tournament.

Thus, Grenada played an ultra defensive game of football post their goal and were able to stop Barbados from scoring another goal at every turn. With only three minutes left, Barbados were sure to head out unless they scored a goal, any goal (including an own goal). 

One Barbadian striker realized that his team was unlikely to score another goal against Grenada with only a few minutes to go. Instead, he decided that their best chance of winning was to make the game go into extra time and score a golden goal, which would count as two goals. So he decided to score an own goal which shocked not just his opponents and teammates, but everyone present in the football stadium. Some would call it thinking on their toes, quite literally. 

This is just the beginning of the bizarre events of this football match. Now Grenada needed to score a goal—at either end—to avoid extra time and go through to the next round. The Grenada players, initially stunned by the goal, suddenly realized what was going on and tried to use the Barbadian strategy to their advantage- they turned around and headed for their own net. The Barbadians had already anticipated this move and rushed to defend both the goalposts, Grenada’s as well as their own, until the whistle went for extra time. Half their players had rushed forward to defend the Grenada goal while the other half had stayed back to defend their own.


Ultimately, Barbadian inventiveness was rewarded, as one of their strikers scored the winning goal four minutes into extra-time,sending Barbados through to the next round of the football tournament.

As expected, the Grenadians were furious and their manager, James Clarkson, told the press - "I feel cheated; the person who came up with these rules must be a candidate for the madhouse. The game should never be played with so many players on 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 your opponents to win, not for them."

Barbados were eventually knocked out of the tournament, but this one infamous football game had helped them write their names into the history books; what's more, they had taken their vanquished opponents along as well. .

Published 04 Jun 2020, 12:23 IST
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