Manchester thrashes out Brighton in penalties 7-6


Manchester United defeated Brighton 7-6 on penalties in the FA Cup semifinal following a scoreless draw at Wembley on Sunday due to Solly March’s missed penalty, booking a summit clash with arch-rivals Manchester City on June 3.
After a tense 120 minutes in which either team would have believed they would have been deserving of a rematch against Manchester City on June 3, the Brighton winger was left inconsolable with the solitary miss of 14 spot kicks. Alexis Mac Allister forced David De Gea to make an early fingertip save from a free-kick as Brighton exploded out of the gates, but United improved as the half went on and Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial both squandered good opportunities in stoppage time scoring for the first time, but Julio Enciso, the hero against Chelsea the previous weekend, was again denied by a spectacular De Gea save before Danny Welbeck nodded over from a corner. Late in the game, Erik ten Hag’s team had a chance to win it, but substitute Jadon Sancho’s curling shot just missed the goal frame.
In extra time, Marcus Rashford appeared to have the game won when he flashed a shot past the post with only Robert Sanchez to beat. However, Kaoru Mitoma’s heavy touch prevented him from scoring what appeared to be a certain last-minute winner.
After each of the first 12 penalties in the ensuing shootout were scored, March’s miss allowed Victor Lindelof to score the winning spot-kick and set United up for a shot at a second trophy this season.
After losing to Manchester United in a replay in their sole prior trip in the FA Cup final 40 years ago, Brighton was attempting to make it there for the second time.
While United had the added incentive of wanting to redeem themselves after their humiliating UEFA Europa League defeat in Seville on Thursday night, they struggled to get going at Wembley and required De Gea’s fingertips to stop Mac Allister from scoring from an early free kick.
Brighton’s early momentum was damaged by a string of stoppages due to injuries.
Up until United dramatically up the pressure in the final minutes of the half and came dangerously close to breaking the score, Roberto De Zerbi would have been the happier manager. First, Martial’s lob drifted agonisingly wide with Sanchez off his line after Fernandes found himself clean through but blasted wide.
Moments after the break, Antony made a driving run and cut back towards Martial, which may have indicated an improvement for the Brazilian, but the game quickly returned to the first half’s structure with Brighton controlling play.
Enciso received a partially cleared corner and unleashed a sharp, stinging first-time effort that De Gea pushed over. Welbeck then nodded the second corner over from a few yards out when he really should have scored.
The comparisons persisted but became harsher. In Brighton’s opening game of that season, Gordon Smith had blown a golden opportunity in the final minute of extra time, and this time Mitoma’s heavy touch with only De Gea to beat denied him and the Seagulls the joy of a last-second victory at Wembley.
Following his side’s win, Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag said as quoted by Sky Sports, “It was the worst game of the season in Sevilla. You cannot change it anymore but take the lessons for the future. What we have proved is we can deal with setbacks and bounce back between games, but now what we have to improve is bouncing back in a game, in difficult situations, in away stadiums, we have to show personality, carry on and stick to the plan.”