- A Braga defender who was led behind the barrier played against an attacker inside
- Qarabag achieved an improbable victory in Portugal despite Joao Moutinho’s goal
- Liverpool must be ruthless: Jurgen Klopp must maintain a two-point lead until the title clash against Manchester City. Podcast Everything is beginning
The ‘shot stopper’ is all the rage among teams defending free kicks these days, with a player lying behind the wall in a clever ploy to block low shots.
However, the strategy appeared to backfire for Braga on Thursday night as their designated defender appeared to play with a Qarabag attacker to score a goal.
Braga lost the first leg of the Europa League knockout round 4-2 at home, a surprising result, and it was partly due to the defensive error.
Controversy erupted when Qarabag’s Abdelleh Zoubir put the ball in after a free kick deflected towards him in the second half, and the linesman ruled it offside.
However, a VAR review ruled that Zoubir had actually been onside, with defender Víctor Gómez the likely culprit for playing him onside.
Braga defender Víctor Gómez innocently drove behind his team’s wall like a ‘draft exclusion’
What Gómez didn’t know was that he played against Qarabag’s Abdelleh Zoubir while he was scoring.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Qarabag had the chance to celebrate again after taking a surprising 2-1 lead and cruised to a solid victory to return to Azerbaijan.
Marko Jankovic had put them ahead with a penalty in the 21st minute, but the teams were level at half-time thanks to Simon Banza’s equaliser.
Qarabag accelerated after the break, with Zoubir scoring twice and Juninho scoring all before the 70th minute to establish a commanding lead.
Joao Moutinho pulled one back for Braga in added time, but it was an embarrassing result for Portugal’s fourth-strongest team.
Draft excluders have become popular in recent years after defenses realized that free throw shooters were shooting under the wall.
Abdellah Zoubir scored twice as Qarabag earned a surprise 4-2 victory over Braga in Portugal.
Lionel Messi has scored quite a few in his time, rolling the ball along the ground while defenses jump instinctively.
He did it several times while on duty at Barcelona, but defenses weren’t sure how to deal with it.
Often goalkeepers do not anticipate the low shot and are caught off guard by the blatant attempt, so excluders have been incorporated to combat that tendency.
The main disadvantage is that by using a shot excluder, you lose a body to defend in the area.
We are now aware of a new disadvantage: the draft excluder plays with someone in play.