Brighton and Hove Albion nearly played the role of underdogs to perfection at American Express Community Stadium on Monday evening before a late Yannick Sagbo goal forced the scheduling of a replay back at Hull City.
A Seagulls win would’ve been the third upset of the fifth round, as the Championship’s Wigan Athletic toppled Cardiff City while third division Sheffield United beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 on the weekend.
Brighton struck in the 30th minute on a pretty bit of passing and a brilliant run. Leonard Ulloa backheeled to Will Buckley, who slipped the ball onto back onto the path of the striding Argentine striker. Ulloa took a few touches with Tom Huddlestone in pursuit from behind. Allan McGregor came sliding out but could only get a piece of Ulloa’s half-chip shot from the spot as the Seagulls took a 1-0 lead.
Hull almost answered straightaway off a corner, but Simon Davies strong header struck the post to the right of Peter Brezovan and a second header was collected by the Slovakian goalkeeper.
Ulloa almost doubled the advantage near half but misfired.
The second half found the home side looking for a second with much aplomb, as Hull really struggled to find its flow. Huddlestone had one of the best chances with a well-hit free kick deflected away from goal by Brighton.
The Tigers made changes with under a half-hour to go, with George Boyd and Matty Fryatt hoping to give their club a boost. Sone Aluko won a free kick just outside the box with about 15 minutes to play, but could not convert.
Brighton needed to find a second goal and had many chances, but Hull defender Ahmed Elmohamady was personally responsible for cleaning up Tiger messes. His strong shoulder barge to repossess with five minutes to play turned the ball around for the equalizer. Sagbo got in close and beat Brezovan through the legs off a slick feed from Aluko.
The winner of the replay will host Sunderland on March 8.
Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.
The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).
Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.
Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.
On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).
Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.
The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.
“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.
“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”
Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.