What happens if the Champions League final ends in a draw?

Manchester City and Inter will face off in Turkey
Manchester City and Inter will face off in Turkey / Burak Kara/GettyImages

The 2022/23 Champions League final is upon us and there are some fascinating narratives to get stuck into. Manchester City, the bookies' favourite from day one, take on an Inter team that was never expected to get this far.

Inter are a very good team but struggled domestically this season, only managing to finish third in Serie A while losing 12 league games. It was a late surge that carried them into the top four and to the final of the Champions League.

Man City have impressed throughout but particularly in the last two to three months. They managed to reel in Arsenal and win the Premier League and also beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final last weekend. They can become only the second English team to win the treble if they beat Inter in Istanbul on Saturday night.

Should the game end in a draw after 90 minutes, here is what you can expect to happen.

Extra time

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale scored as Real Madrid surged past Atletico Madrid in extra time in 2014 / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Given the expected pattern of the game, should we get to 90 minutes and neither team is ahead, it probably means Inter have put in their best defensive performance of the season to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne out.

At the end of the 90 minutes and stoppage time, there will be an extra half hour played by the two teams. That will be split in half with the two teams swapping ends after 15 minutes.

The Golden Goal system has never been used in a Champions League match so it will be a simple case of both teams trying to end the extra-time period ahead of the other. This is where football can be at its most dramatic, with so much on the line for both sets of players and the momentum swinging all the time.

The momentum can often be with the team that scored an equaliser towards the end of the 90 minutes. This was the case in 2014 when Real Madrid scored a 93rd-minute equaliser against Atletico Madrid. They then had all of the momentum and netted three more times in extra time to win 4-1.


Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid were the last team to win a Champions League final on penalties in 2016 / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Should we get to the end of extra time and Manchester City have still not been able to fully assert their dominance over Inter, a penalty shootout will be required.

This is often described as a lottery and the cruellest way to lose a game of football, especially one that is part of such a huge occasion for everyone involved. Each team gets to take five penalties at the opposing keeper and whoever has the best record wins the final.

It is a 'best of five' system. For example, if after three penalties each it is 3-0 to one team, the shootout will be over as they cannot be caught. Over the years, there have been seven Champions League finals decided by penalty shootouts.

The last one came seven years ago in 2016, as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid again. Before that, Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in 2012, Man Utd defeated Chelsea in 2008, Liverpool stunned AC Milan in 2005, and there were also wins for Milan, Bayern and Juventus. There have only been 16 penalty shootouts in Champions League history.