Explained: Why is 2-0 considered the most dangerous lead?

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You'll hear the phrase "2-0 is the most dangerous lead in football", but what does it actually imply?

The phrase is a popular saying used in football to describe a scenario in which one team is winning by a margin of 2-0 - and that it is not a comfortable lead, but a vulnerable one.

It references a situation in which the winning team might be lulled into feeling as if they have prematurely won the game, which might lead them to become too comfortable and therefore vulnerable - and could lead to them conceding and squandering their once comfortable lead.

Two-nil is considered a threatening scoreline as the losing side only need one goal to mount pressure on the winning team, to make it 2-1.

The psychology, then, is that the losing side will have momentum - and a feeling that they have nothing to lose - after scoring even a single goal, which could spur them on into fighting back to make it 2-2.

The idea is also that once the trailing team have scored, the side formerly in front will falter and lose concentration after conceding, thus potentially leading them to make careless mistakes, which will lead to more goals.

There is also more chance for a losing side to remain in the match if they are trailing by just one or two goals.

If they are losing by three or more goals, the tie is usually considered a lost cause, with very slim likelihood that they could get back into the game.

The phrase could also be used by managers and coaches to instil motivation from their players, if they find themselves losing by 2-0 at half-time. Just one goal could change the entire course of the game, with hope still left for the trailing side.

Broadcasters and commentators could also say the phrase in order to entice and keep viewers hooked on the game, by repeating that 2-0 is not at all a comfortable margin for a game.

Liverpool notably lost away to Bournemouth in 2016-17 when they were leading 2-0, eventually suffering a 4-3 defeat in a famous example of the saying.

Pundit Gary Lineker, however, questioned the truth of the "2-0 is the most dangerous lead in football" phrase, stating at the time: "When did 2-0 up become a dangerous score? Hear it so often now. Would like to know percentage of games lost from there? Suspect not high."

Opta later stated that only 2.1 per cent of 22 teams who were leading 2-0 at half-time eventually lost the game, so perhaps the phrase is merely an exaggerated cliche.