14:22 27th January 2016
Images from the Capital One Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
STOKE CITY bowed out of the Capital One Cup in the most heart-breaking fashion imaginable at Anfield on Tuesday evening.
Marko Arnautovic's neatly taken first half effort was enough to secure the Potters a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory after 90 minutes and take the tie to extra-time.
Neither side were able to find a breakthrough during the additional 30 minutes of play although substitute Marco van Ginkel went agonisingly close when he rattled the woodwork from eight yards.
So, after 210 minutes of deadlock, the tie went all the way to penalties!
And yet despite leading throughout the shootout it was the hosts who claimed a spot at Wembley courtesy of Joe Allen’s pinpoint effort, which secured the Reds a dramatic 6-5 triumph.
Jonathan Walters, Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel all dispatched their spot kicks with real aplomb, but it was the heroics of Simon Mignolet which earned him the headlines.
The Belgian stopper, who recently penned a new five-year deal, saved to deny both Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa, who had produced a sublime performance along with Philipp Wollscheid at the heart of the side.
His missed penalty proved to be pivotal to the outcome of the tie as it presented Wales international Allen the opportunity to set up a Wembley date for the Merseysiders, and he duly obliged by striking into the top corner.
Pictures courtesy of Press Association Images and Getty Images