LONDON, England — Manchester United (Man Utd) beat Brighton & Hove Albion in a thrilling penalty shootout after their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday finished 0-0 after extra time to set up the first all-Manchester clash in the final.
Solly March, Brighton’s seventh player to step up to the spot in the shootout, launched the ball over the bar, before Victor Lindelof found the net to secure a 7-6 shootout victory for United.
“It felt great,” Mr. Lindelof told the BBC. “It was a great relief and we’re glad to be in the final.
“I have confidence in myself and I knew which penalty I wanted to take and that’s what I did.”
The nail-biting finale was a fitting ending after 120 goalless minutes of wild swings in a game that careened from end to end all night.
The quality of the penalties in a torrential downpour was superb with United finding the net with all seven of their spotkicks.
Brighton’s first six efforts were equally impressive until Mr. March fired wildly off target.
“They were great penalties,” United keeper David De Gea said. “I was prepared as always. I tried to put pressure on the takers.
“There’s still a long way to the final but it will be a big game against one of the best teams in Europe and the world.”
Erik ten Hag’s United, 12-times FA Cup winners, are chasing a cup double after winning the League Cup in February.
Treble-chasing Manchester City await in the final after they beat Sheffield United 3-0 in their semi on Saturday.
“We showed at home we can beat them (Manchester City) so let’s hope,” Mr. De Gea said. United beat City 2-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Jan. 14.
“We are on the right track. One trophy, another final and fighting for the top four. It’s not enough but it’s a big step from last season.”
Sunday’s semi was a rematch of the 1983 final, when Brighton lost to United in the south coast side’s only appearance in the showcase game.
It had fans on the edge of their seats at Wembley with numerous chances for both sides to break the deadlock, including several in extra time.
Marcus Rashford’s deflected shot in the extra period was pushed wide by Brighton’s diving keeper Robert Sanchez, and then he fired a long shot that sailed just wide.
Kaoru Mitoma nearly won it for Brighton late in extra time, but collided with Mr. De Gea in the box.
“It was a very tight game we played a very good team,” Mr. De Gea said. “Brighton play really good football. We are now in the final but we have another big game on Thursday (against Tottenham in the Premier League) so we need to go home and recover.”
The loss ended Brighton’s superb run and ended The Seagulls’ hopes of clinching a first-ever major trophy.
The FA Cup final is on June 3 at Wembley. — Reuters