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The 'golden goal'

The UEFA Champions League is one of few tournaments not to have been settled by a 'golden goal'.

First 'golden goal'
The first 'golden goal' was scored in the La Mosson stadium in Montpellier on 15 April 1994 and decided the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship between Italy and Portugal. Since then, 'golden goals' have been decisive several times, including the last two UEFA European Championship finals. At EURO 96™ Oliver Bierhoff's shot crept in off the post to give Germany their 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the fifth minute of extra time at Wembley. Four years later David Trezeguet's superb strike allowed Roger Lemerre's side to beat Italy 2-1 and add the EURO 2000™ title to their FIFA World Cup obtained in 1998.

Unlucky Alavés
Yet, although 'golden goals' had decided European finals at senior and age-limit tournaments involving national teams, no UEFA club competition - if we exclude Galatasaray SK's 2-1 victory over Real Madrid CF in the 2000 UEFA Super Cup - had been settled by a 'golden goal' until last season's epic UEFA Cup final between Liverpool FC and Deportivo Alavés at BV Borussia Dortmund's home ground, the Westfalenstadion. The 90 minutes had produced a 4-4 draw and the Spanish side were then defeated in the cruellest of fashions in the 27th minute of extra time, when defender Delfí Geli headed a Gary McAllister free-kick into his own net. It was not only the first 'golden goal' to decide a UEFA club final but was also the very first 'golden own goal'.

Change for 2002/03
However, this final will be the last where the 'golden goal' rule applies in its current form. As from next season, the format will be modified. If a goal is scored during the first period of extra time, play will nonetheless continue until the first 15 minutes have been completed. If the other team does not equalise, the side which has scored the 'golden goal' will be declared the winner. On the other hand, if the scores are level, the second 15-minute period of extra time will be played in its entirety.