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Looking at this soccer match page: http://www.espnfc.com/en/report/233737/report.html?soccernet=true&cc=null

The score format says, "(2) 3 - 2 (3)". What do the brackets mean? The article also says:

After 90 minutes Sevilla led 3-2 to cancel out the first-leg deficit and make the score 5-5 on aggregate and with no goals in extra-time, it was left to visiting goalkeeper Volkan, who saved from Julien Escude, Ivica Dragutinovic and Dani Alves.

What do they mean by "first-leg deficit" and "score 5-5 on aggregate"?

  • Forgot to mention "first-leg deficit" in my answer below. In the first leg, Sevilla had lost 3-2, giving them a 1 goal deficit. However, one must also consider the away goal rule, but I'll refer to my answer below for more information on that! – Qvist May 11 '14 at 19:37
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The Champions League uses a two-legged tie format: the teams play a match at each home stadium and the overall winner advances. This (nearly) eliminates the home-field effect.

In this match, Fenerbahçe had won its home leg by a score of 3-2, so Sevilla needed to win 3-2 to tie the aggregate score at 5-5 and send the match to a shootout.

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There are two things to consider here:

1. The two-legged tie format

Knockout phase From the last 16 until the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own pool or nation, while from the quarter-finals on the draw is free. (source: uefa.com)

This means that the two teams face eachother twice; once at home, and once away. There are several reasons use this format, among them the fact that it's more fair and that it's economically beneficial.

2. The away goal rule

Even though it didn't come into play in this particular example, the "away goal rule" is still very important, especially when considering the term "aggregate score". The aggregate score is the "total score" over the two games - and also the main way of determining the winner of the two-legged tie. In this case, the aggregate score was 5-5, as both teams had won with 3-2 at their respective home stadium.

When the aggregate score is a tie, one team can still be declared the winner - due to the away goal rule. Let us say that the 2nd game (in Sevilla) had ended 2-1 (instead of 3-2). The aggregate score would then have been 4-4, but Sevilla would have been declared the winner. This is because Sevilla scored 2 goals away, while Fenerbahce only scored one. Thus, the only way a game in the Champions League can go to extra time and penalties, is if both legs end the same way - as the game between Sevilla and Fenerbahce did.

For further reading, take a look at the Champions League regulations, and in particular articles 7-8.

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