Well, that was 1-1 thriller!
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.
Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.
The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.
[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]
Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.
From the BBC:
No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.
There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.
This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.
It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.
Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.
[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]
Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.
From the BBC:
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.
Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.