Manchester United beat Brighton & Hove Albion on penalties to book a place in the FA Cup final after playing out a thrilling yet goalless stalemate across 120 minutes of football today.
Both sides went into the game in contrasting form, but Man United needed a response after their humiliating Europa League exit against Sevilla in midweek.
However, it was Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton that began on the front foot, establishing a foothold early in the game and dominating the opening half-hour.
David de Gea was certainly the busier of both goalkeepers and had to be on his toes to keep out an early free-kick from Alexis Mac Allister.
The Spanish goalkeeper then watched as Julio Enciso and Kaoru Mitoma each missed the target with good opportunities inside the box.
Undeterred by their spurned opportunities, the confident Seagulls kept probing for an opener.
But Bruno Fernandes came the closest to breaking the deadlock, rifling his low strike narrowly wide of the far post to keep the scoreline level at half-time.
Despite ending the opening period on the front foot, Man United struggled to contain De Zerbi’s well-oiled machine, who looked the more dangerous of the two sides in the second half.
Enciso, who missed the target inside the box in the first half, ensured his effort was on target this time.
But De Gea was on hand to repel with a superb save before Danny Welbeck directed a close-range header wastefully over the crossbar.
With the match heading toward stalemate in normal time, neither side could muster enough clear-cut chances to snatch a winner, with each attack breaking down in the final third.
Extra time was no different, but Man United wouldn’t have needed penalties but for a stunning Robert Sanchez save, with the Spanish shot-stopper diving brilliantly to stop Marcus Rashford’s deflected goal-bound strike.
Mitoma saw another half-chance go begging in the final stages, with both sides ultimately settling for a nervy penalty shootout that went all the way.
Converting from 12 yards isn’t as simple as it seems, but both sides made light work of their first six spot kicks each before Solly March sent his penalty over the crossbar.
Victor Lindelöf held his nerve to send United into a record-equalling 21st FA Cup final, setting up a mouthwatering clash with local rivals Manchester City in the competition’s showpiece event.
- Leicester City release seven players following drop into Championship
- AC Milan reject €60 million from Chelsea for Mike Maignan
- Nacho close to Madrid contract renewal in blow to Inter Milan
- Chelsea sign teenage star Kendry Paez
- Leicester want at least £40m for Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle target James Maddison