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Previewing the Libertadores semifinals

The 2018 CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores has reached its semifinal stage featuring traditional powers from the two biggest football countries in South America. River Plate will host defending champions Grêmio in the first leg of the first semifinal on Tuesday night; Boca Juniors will open the second semifinal at home to Palmeiras on Wednesday. Even though […]

Penalty kick shootouts and the importance of shooting first

J. Apesteguia and I. Palacios-Huerta, “Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment”, American Economic Review 100 (December 2010): 2548-2564.This economics paper focuses on the psychological issues involved in high-stakes competitive environments, using the penalty kick shootout as an illustration.  The major finding of the paper is that there is a structural […]

The second leg effect in Euro club competitions

Lionel Page and Katie Page, "The second leg home advantage: Evidence from European football cup competitions", Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(14): 1547-1556, 2007. [Scribd]Following up on my discussions of the two-leg competition in football is a very interesting and thorough paper written by British and Australian researchers.  I came across it while reading a Wikipedia […]

Some differences between the two leg format: MLS vs. UEFA competitions

Before the Christmas/New Year's break, I published a post at my HexagonalBlog site that ran through the numbers for the two-leg format in the first round of the MLS playoffs.  The format has come under some criticism since its introduction in the 2003 season, especially for having the higher seed team host the second leg […]