In a bizarre and absurd football incident, the fate of two teams was decided by a coin toss on a muddy field. The story took place during the 1964/65 season when Liverpool, the reigning English champions, was competing in the European Cup (UEFA Champions League).
Liverpool started the tournament strongly, defeating Icelandic Reykjavik 11:1 over two legs and then eliminating Anderlecht in the round of 16. Their next opponent was the formidable German champions, FC Cologne.
In the first two matches, neither team managed to score, leading to a third game scheduled to take place in the Netherlands. There, Liverpool took an early 2-0 lead, but Cologne fought back to force extra time.
In those days, away goals didn’t count, and in the case of a draw, a coin toss was used to determine the winner. With 300 minutes of football played on different grounds, the teams remained deadlocked.
As the referee, Robert Schaut, called the captains, Ron Yeats of Liverpool and Wolfgang Overath of Cologne, to the center of the field, chaos erupted. Surrounding team members and cameras made the situation even more tense, while the muddy and uneven field added to the complications of the coin toss.
After an initial toss, the coin landed oddly on the ground, making it impossible to determine the result. Ron Yeats requested a repeat, and surprisingly, the referee agreed.
Upon the second toss, Liverpool won the right to advance to the next phase of the tournament. Bill Shankly, the Liverpool manager, praised Yeats but humorously revealed he would have made the same choice.
Thus, in a twist of fate, a coin flip on a muddy field became the decider in this gripping and unforgettable football episode.