The 'draught excluder' backfires! Bizarre moment Qarabag goalscorer is played ONSIDE by Braga defender laying down behind the wall at a free-kick in Europa League play-off
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The 'draught excluder' backfires! Bizarre moment Qarabag goalscorer is played ONSIDE by Braga defender laying down behind the wall at a free-kick in Europa League play-off

Mar 6, 2024
  • A Braga defender who was led down behind the wall played an attacker onside
  • Qarabag scored an unlikely victory in Portugal despite a Joao Moutinho goal 
  • Liverpool must be ruthless – Jurgen Klopp has to hang on to two-point lead until title clash with Man City – It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

The ‘draught excluder’ is all the rage for teams defending free-kicks nowadays, with one player lying down behind the wall in a clever ploy to block low shots. 

Yet the strategy seemed to backfire for Braga on Thursday night, as their designated prone defender played a Qarabag attacker onside for a goal. 

Braga went on to lose the Europa League knock-out play-off round first leg 4-2 at home, a shock result, and it was in part due to the defensive mishap.  

Controversy erupted when Qarabag’s Abdelleh Zoubir bundled the ball home after a free-kick deflected to him in the second half, with the linesman ruling him offside. 

However, a VAR check ruled that Zoubir had in fact been onside, with floor-bound defender Victor Gomez the culprit playing him onside – with his head.  

Braga defender Victor Gomez innocently led behind his team's wall as a 'draught excluder'

Braga defender Victor Gomez innocently led behind his team’s wall as a ‘draught excluder’

Little did Gomez know that he played Qarabag's Abdelleh Zoubir onside as he went on to score

Little did Gomez know that he played Qarabag’s Abdelleh Zoubir onside as he went on to score 

Qarabag had the chance to celebrate all over again after taking the surprise 2-1 lead and went on to secure a solid win to take back to Azerbaijan.  

Marko Jankovic had put them ahead with a penalty after 21 minutes but the sides were all level at half-time thanks to Simon Banza’s equaliser. 

Qarabag hit their stride after the break, with Zoubir netting twice and Juninho scoring all before the 70-minute mark to establish a commanding lead. 

Joao Moutinho pulled one back for Braga in stoppage time but it was an embarrassing result for the fouth-strongest side in Portugal. 

Draught excluders have been popularised in recent years after defences cottoning on to free-kick takers striking their shots under the wall.

Abdellah Zoubir scored twice as Qarabag earned a surprise 4-2 victory over Braga in Portugal

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 on the ground as defences jump out of instinct.

He did it several times on Barcelona duty but defences were unsure of how to deal with it.  

Often goalkeepers do not anticipate the low shot and are caught by surprise by the cheeky attempt, so draught excluders have been brought in to combat that trend. 

The major downside is that by using a draught excluder, you lose a body to defend in the box. 

Now we’re aware of a new disadvantage – the draught excluder playing somebody onside. 

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