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The never-ending match: Liverpool and Middlesbrough's epic penalty shootout

By Tom McGowan, CNN
updated 1:19 PM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Liverpool's League Cup tie against Middlesbrough at Anfield on Tuesday was the match that had everything - including 31 penalties. Liverpool's League Cup tie against Middlesbrough at Anfield on Tuesday was the match that had everything - including 31 penalties.
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
Penalty drama that went on and on
  • Liverpool and Middlesbrough contest a record-breaking penalty shootout
  • The EPL team won the shootout 14-13 after 30 penalties had been taken
  • Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford also scored from the spot during the match
  • The score was level at 2-2 after 120 minutes of play

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(CNN) -- It was tense, nerve-shredding, prime-time viewing.

No, not the new series of "Boardwalk Empire," but a soccer match with 31 penalties.

Tuesday's English League Cup match between Liverpool and second division Middlesbrough was a marathon encounter which finally came to a conclusion at 10:42pm local time -- almost three hours after it had kicked off.

Level at 1-1 after 90 minutes at Liverpool's Anfield stadium and locked together at 2-2 after two hours of play, the two teams began a record-breaking penalty shootout.

After all 11 players on both teams -- including the two goalkeepers -- had taken a spot kick, only two penalties had been missed.

As a result, with the score in the shootout level at 10-10, the first penalty takers had to go again.

The success both teams enjoyed from 12 yards made for a surreal spectacle, with Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli letting a wry smile slip when he converted for the second time in the shootout.

But, as always in these heartbreaking football deciders, there has to be a fall guy.

That was Middlesbrough's Albert Adomah, who sliced his penalty wide of the goal to give Liverpool the win.

The final score in the shootout was 14-13, with both teams having taken 15 penalties each.

When you include the penalty scored by Middlesbrough substitute Patrick Bamford to make the score 2-2 in the dying moments of extratime, there was a grand total of 31 spot kicks in an extraordinary match -- a competition record.

"I don't have words to explain my feelings now," Middlesbrough manager, and former Real Madrid No. 2, Aitor Karanka remarked after the match.

"I've never experienced anything like that before. We have played a Champions League team at Anfield and we've met them face to face. Everything was brilliant except the last penalty."

For Liverpool, it ended a run of back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.

"I was obviously pleased to get through and that experience, even though it was a long night for everyone, was great for our young players," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose starting 11 included the 17-year-old Jordan Rossister.

"It's good to win, no matter how you win," added Rodgers.

"It was very difficult -- even the 'keepers scored. It was really good quality. You can see why Middlesbrough are up near the top of the Championship (England's second tier,) they are a good side and are organized.

"We wish them luck now for the rest of their season."

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