Manchester United booked a mouthwatering FA Cup final encounter with Manchester City by beating an impressive Brighton side 7-6 on penalties today at Wembley.
Brighton came into the game as favourites with the bookies and Robert de Zerbi’s side almost took the lead after six minutes when Argentine midfielder Alexis McAllister forced David de Gea into a decent stop from a free-kick
10 minutes later and it would be Man United’s turn to go close when Bruno Fernandes hammered straight at Robert Sanchez from the edge of the area.
While Brighton impressed in possession, it was Man United who created the better of the chances during the opening period. In a flurry just before half-time Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Christian Eriksen all fluffed their lines after finding themselves free and bearing down on goal.
Julio Enciso forced De Gea into a brilliant finger-tip stop early on the second half after the Paraguayan youngster hit a rasping strike from the edge of the area.
Both sides put everything on the line to score that crucial goal, but ultimately this enthralling encounter would end scoreless after 90 minutes and head to extra time.
In the 105th minute, Sanchez would once again produce a brilliant stop, the Spanish ‘keeper diving at full stretch to push a Rashford strike around the post.
Neither team lacked for endeavour although this encounter had the feel of a game that was headed for the lottery of penalties and that is exactly how it played out.
Then as is so often the case in penalty shootouts there is a hero and a villain. After both sides had perfectly dispatched six penalties each, Brighton academy graduate Solly March blazed over the bar and Victor Lindelof took full advantage to step up and book an FA Cup final clash against Manchester City by confidently firing his spot kick into the top corner.
VICTOR LINDELOF SENDS MAN UNITED TO THE FA CUP FINAL 😱🏆 pic.twitter.com/8KGIREVTb6
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 23, 2023
Speaking afterwards United ‘keeper De Gea revealed that he feels today’s win was further proof his club are headed in the ‘right track’ under the management of Erik Ten Hag.
“It was a very tight game we played a very good team,” De Gea told the BBC.
”Brighton play really good football. We are now in the final but we have another big game on Thursday so we need to go home and recover.
“They were great penalties. 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.
“We showed at home we can beat them [Man City] so let’s hope.
“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.”
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