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Liverpool's Sadio Mane vies for the ball with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger during the English League Cup final at Wembley stadium in London. Image Credit: AP

In football a 0-0 draw may sound like it was a miserable, turgid affair, devoid of any excitement whatsoever. Now 99 times out of 100 that may be true. But, there is always that one exception, a match that stands out as an incredible spectacle without the ball ever hitting the back of the net. Well, we may have just witnessed the greatest ever 0-0 draw of all time tonight in the League Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea at Wembley stadium.

It had absolutely everything – drama, controversy, fantastic moments of skill, pin-point passing, passion and commitment all over the park. It didn’t have any goals after 90 minutes or extra time, but goodness me, it didn’t need any to have the fans jumping out of their seats inside the stadium and in front of TV sets all over the world. Billions around the globe will have been thoroughly entertained tonight.

Relentless and breathtaking

Football fans who understand the game at a deeper level than casual viewers will tell you that games don’t always need goals to be great and the 2022 Carabao Cup showpiece in front of 85,000 stunned supporters is a perfect example. Liverpool and Chelsea went at each other, hammer and tongs. They threw everything they had at one other. It was relentless. It was breathtaking. It was like watching two battered and bruised heavyweights in the final round desperately swinging in the hope of landing the telling blow. But, it never came.

The most recent match between the two teams at Wembley was the 2012 FA Cup final which Chelsea won 2-1. Ramires and Didier Drogba scored for the Blues with Andy Carroll netting for the Reds and although we had 3 goals that day, that game does not hold a candle to this latest final between the two clubs. This was the eighth time they met in the League Cup and it was the best by a country mile. Incredibly four ‘goals’ were disallowed in this game for offside, Mount hit the post, Mane saw a point blank effort saved by Mendy and there were countless more chances at both ends but in the end we needed a penalty shootout to decide a winner. It was the most extraordinary football match - but there have been other astonishing 0-0 draws.

Holland v Italy

Who could forget the semi-final between Holland and Italy at the 2000 European Championship, at the Amsterdam Arena? It finished goalless and it was truly thrilling from the first whistle. Holland had dominated the early exchanges and had most of the possession. They almost broke the deadlock when Dennis Bergkamp hit the post and then the Italians were reduced to 10 men when Zambrotta fouled Zenden. It got worse when they conceded a penalty but Toldo brilliantly saved De Boer’s spot kick. Holland continued to come but Italy repelled all their attacks. But then, another penalty was awarded to the home team and Kluivert put the ball on the spot. Surely he would score this one? He ran up, connected well… but the ball struck the post! Holland had numerous other chances to score and knock Italy out but failed to do so. The match would need penalties and would you believe it? The Italians, who had been sitting back and defending, relying on the occasional counter attack like they always did (until Roberto Mancini transformed them into a brilliant, attacking side) won 3-1.

Tonight, it came down to the two goalkeepers with the shootout all square at a scarcely believable 10-10 and when Liverpool’s Kelleher tucked his away the pressure was on Chelsea’s Kepa to score but he blazed his effort into orbit. The Reds won 11-10 and took the trophy back to Anfield but had it been shared between the two clubs after this remarkable thriller I don’t think anyone would have argued about that.