Leicester beat Cardiff in penalty shoot-out in Heineken Cup semi-finalBy Jon Geddes
May 05, 2009 It was one of the most extraordinary rugby games ever played, featuring a pulsating 111-minute battle and a penalty shoot-out.
When Leicester Tigers and Cardiff Blues met in their Heineken Cup semi-final on the weekend, no one could have expected that a moment of sporting history was about to unfold.
The Tigers won a penalty shootout 7-6 after the scores were locked at 26-all at fulltime and following 20 minutes of extra time at Millennium Stadium.
"It was pretty brutal watching it," Leicester lock Tom Croft said. "You start to see what players go through in football when they have these penalty shootouts. It was a real mixture of emotions."
After playing for an hour and 40 minutes, the teams had to nominate five kickers to take alternate penalty kicks from in front of the posts on the 22m line.
With the score level at 4-all, it went into sudden death with another group of players having shots.
The break finally came when Cardiff's Welsh Test star Martyn Williams sliced the ball wide of the posts at 6-all.
Leicester flanker Jordan Crane, who had previously trialled with West Bromwich Albion, sent his kick sailing through the uprights to secure victory.
"Being an ex-footballer, I'm always keen to take a penalty, I actually enjoyed it," Crane said.
But the manner of the victory left the mentally and physically exhausted players feeling flat.
Rather than celebrate, Tigers players went over to commiserate with their shattered rival Williams.
"We didn't want to win it like that, to be honest," Leicester skipper Geordan Murphy said.
Leicester will now meet Irish side Leinster, which includes Wallabies Rocky Elsom and Chris Whitaker, in the final at Murrayfield on May 23.
I watched the replay of this game yesterday, pretty amazing game! The shoot-out was very interesting, towards the end of the shoot-out the forwards were taking shots for each team.