LONDON: Brighton came from 2-0 down and were then behind in a shootout before they beat Millwall 5-4 on penalties to reach an FA Cup football semi-final with quadruple-chasing Manchester City on Sunday.
It seemed Championship strugglers Millwall were on the brink of delighting their home crowd at the Den at 2-0 up with just two minutes of normal time left after second-half goals by Alex Pearce and Aiden O’Brien.
But Brighton pulled one back through Jurgen Locadia and then, in the fifth minute of added on time and the last act of regulation play, Solly March’s seemingly harmless free-kick into the box left Millwall goalkeeper David Martin flapping at the ball before it settled in the top corner to send the tie into extra-time.
Millwall were reduced to 10 men a minute from the end of extra time when likely penalty-taker Shane Ferguson was sent off for a petulant stamp on Lewis Dunk. At the very end of extra time, Brighton thought they had a winner only for Martin Montoya, in a match without VAR, to be incorrectly flagged for offside as the tie headed to spot-kicks.
Further drama followed when Brighton’s Glenn Murray struck the opening penalty of the shootout onto the crossbar.
Both sides then found the back of the net until Brighton’s Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan blocked Mahlon Romeo’s effort with his legs to leave the shootout level at 3-3 before ‘sudden death’ came into play at 4-4.
Brighton skipper Dunk then powered a penalty low to Martin’s right before, with Millwall needing to score to keep the tie alive, Jake Cooper saw his shot clear the goal.