BRIGHTON: Holders Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round on Sunday as Kaoru Mitoma struck the winning goal in stoppage time.
Harvey Elliott put Liverpool ahead, Lewis Dunk equalised before halftime and the score stayed at 1-1 until Mitoma found the net in the 92nd minute with a fine finish.
It was the second time Brighton defeated Liverpool in two weeks, having also beaten Juergen Klopp’s side 3-0 in the Premier League.
Earlier, Liverpool’s teenage midfielder Elliott put them ahead in the 30th minute with a low shot into the far corner following a clever pass from Mohamed Salah.
Brighton equalised nine minutes later when Dunk got a flick on a long-range effort from Tariq Lamptey which deflected into the goal, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker wrong-footed.
Elliott, who also scored in Liverpool’s win in the third- round replay, could have made it 2-1 before halftime as he latched on to Cody Gakpo’s pass but Lamptey made a superb last-ditch tackle.
Liverpool had another chance on the hour mark when Salah connected with a wonderful pass from James Milner but the Egypt forward chose to whip in a cross instead of taking a shot and Brighton keeper Jason Steele easily blocked it.
The tie looked set for a replay when Brighton’s Solly March missed a golden opportunity to score in the 71st minute when he failed to beat the onrushing Alisson from close range after Mitoma set him up with a brilliant low cross.
But Mitoma took things into his own hands, scoring a superb goal following a free kick as he controlled the ball on the half volley, dummied and rifled it home.
It was another disappointing result for Liverpool who have struggled with form and injuries this season and are ninth in the Premier League standings.
“This season has been nowhere near good enough. At the start of the year, we wanted a fresh start but that hasn’t happened. We’ve been worse,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said. “In the league, we haven’t been good enough and now we’re out of both cups,” he added.
Championship Stoke City progressed to the fifth round after beating fourth-tier Stevenage 3-1 as Jacob Brown scored an early goal followed by a stunning strike from Josh Laurent and a penalty by Lewis Baker.
Later on Sunday, fifth-tier Welsh club Wrexham, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, host Sheffield United.
On Saturday, Manchester United’s Brazil midfielder Casemiro scored twice as they beat second-tier Reading 3-1 to reach the fifth round.
Visitors Reading were riding their luck and holding on until Casemiro opened the scoring in the 54th minute, dinking the ball over goalkeeper Joe Lumley from Antony’s pass.
The former Real Madrid player extended United’s lead four minutes later with a fizzing low shot from 25 metres. Fred made it 3-0 before Reading had former Liverpool and England striker Andy Carroll sent off for a second yellow card.
Reading, managed by former title-winning United midfielder Paul Ince, scored a consolation through Amadou Salif Mbengue.
In another match, Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min returned to form with two goals in their 3-0 defeat of second-tier Preston North End, with debutant Arnaut Danjuma also on target at Deepdale.
South Korean Son made the difference with two superb goals after the break as the visitors moved comfortably through to the next round.
Five minutes into the second half the ball was played to Son outside the penalty area and he struck an unstoppable drive low into the corner of the net.
He struck again 19 minutes later he struck again, turning smoothly on the edge of the box and firing past Preston goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.
Dutch forward Danjuma, who signed for Spurs on loan from Spanish club Villarreal this week, came off the bench to score his side’s third with a close-range finish late on.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2023
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