Mitoma Strike Knocks Out Holder Liverpool
18:46 JST, January 30, 2023
BRIGHTON, England (AFP-Jiji) — Brighton dumped English F.A. Cup holder Liverpool out of the competition on Sunday as Hollywood star and Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds saw his non-league side denied a dramatic win by Sheffield United in a six-goal thriller.
Kaoru Mitoma’s brilliant control and finish in stoppage time to seal a 2-1 win for Brighton was another enormous blow to Liverpool, whose season is unravelling just months after it came close to winning a historic quadruple.
The Reds had led at the Amex through Harvey Elliott, but have now won just once in their past six games in all competitions.
Lewis Dunk leveled before the break for the home side and it well earned its place in the fifth round courtesy of a moment of magic from Mitoma, who struck his fourth goal in six games.
The Japanese winger cushioned Pervis Estupinan’s cross into his path, flicked the ball over Joe Gomez and fired high past Alisson Becker in the 92nd minute.
“He is an incredible player who I think can play one step higher,” said Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi. “I am pleased for his goal.”
Liverpool is languishing in ninth place in the Premier League, 21 points behind pacesetter Arsenal.
The early F.A. Cup exit leaves the Champions League as its only remaining shot at a trophy this season.
Jurgen Klopp described Brighton’s 3-0 win when the sides met earlier this month as a “horror show.”
And the German coach at least took some heart from his team’s battling performance on Sunday.
“I am not over the moon about this performance but, again, the only thing that happened really is that we lost against a good side, who we lost to two weeks ago in a horrendous game,” said Klopp. “Today was much better.”
Meanwhile, Wrexham is the last non-league club left in the competition, but was left disappointed as John Egan made it 3-3 in the dying seconds for the 10-man Blades.
The hosts could not have got off to a worse start as Oli McBurnie headed Sheffield United in front after 61 seconds.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side looks set for a return to the Premier League next season, but was rocked by a pulsating atmosphere inside the Racecourse Ground.
James Jones and Thomas O’Connor struck within 11 minutes early in the second half to turn the tie around.
Oliver Norwood quickly leveled, but the momentum swung Wrexham’s way once more when Daniel Jebbison was sent off 20 minutes from time.
Paul Mullin looked to have pulled off the shock of the round with a calm finish four minutes from time, only for Egan to break Wrexham hearts by turning home a corner at the death.
“Impossible is @Wrexham_AFC’s favourite colour,” tweeted Reynolds, who took over the club in 2020 along with fellow actor Rob McElhenney. “That was one of the most exciting things I’ve EVER seen.
“Thank you each and every Wrexham supporter who came out and aimed your heart at that pitch tonight.”
Stoke progressed to the last 16 with a 3-1 win over Stevenage.
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