Benfica's Genius Goal-Kick Tactic Is Officially Legal This Season
Benfica's clever goal-kick routine split opinion as to whether it cheating but it's been confirmed that their tactic deployed against AC Milan is indeed legal.
30 minutes into the International Champions Cup game when Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos and defender Ruben Dias showed just how effective the change in rule can be.
The Greek international placed the ball on the six-yard line and because teammates are now allowed in the box from a goal-kick, he was able to flick the ball to his centre-back, who simply headed the ball back to him in something you'd expect to see on FIFA.
There were reports that the referee spoke to the two players at half-time to warn them against doing it again in the second half but Dale Johnson from ESPN says that football lawyers have told him that teams will be able to do it in the upcoming campaign.
It's not classed as a "trick backpass" - something that Marco Verratti was once penalised for in a Ligue One game back in 2017 - so it's allowed as long as the purpose is not to time-waste and instead build an attack.
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And clearly that is the case here. After catching the ball, Vlachodimos launched the ball up the field with a giant throw, bypassing the first line of press from Milan. A better touch from Grimaldo and Benfica are in the final third.
As part of a series of law changes introduced, goal kicks do not need to leave the area - meaning that defenders are able to collect the ball in the 18-yard box while opposition players still need to remain outside the penalty area until the kick is taken.
Expect plenty of excitement from possession-based teams like Manchester City, Barcelona, Spurs, Juventus and Ajax in 2019/20 as a result of the new rule.