HOLDERS Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round yesterday as Kaoru Mitoma struck a late winner, before fifth-tier Wrexham were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by 10-man Sheffield United.
In Brighton, Harvey Elliott put Liverpool ahead, Lewis Dunk equalised before half-time 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 that Brighton had defeated Liverpool in two weeks, after they beat Juergen Klopp’s side 3-0 in the Premier League.
“Unbelievable ending. Sometimes you’ve got to win a game like that. We weren’t at our best today. Nowhere near it. But we ground it out against a top side and got the win,” captain Dunk told ITV Sport.
“We feel like we can beat anyone on our best days and we showed here we can beat them on our not-so-good days. We’ve got everything in our squad to keep pushing on and hopefully we can go further in the competition.”
Liverpool’s teenage midfielder Elliott had 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 to go to a replay when Brighton’s Solly March missed a golden opportunity to score in the 71st minute, failing to beat the onrushing Alisson from close range after Mitoma had 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.
Championship (second-tier) side 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.
Wrexham, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, were on the verge of recording an upset win over Championship club Sheffield United before John Egan scored from a corner in the 95th minute to force a replay.
In a frantic second half at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham twice took the lead through Thomas O’Connor and Paul Mullin on either side of a sending-off for Daniel Jebbison, but the Welsh club were pegged back by goals from Oliver Norwood and Egan.
Late on Saturday night, Manchester United’s Brazil midfielder Casemiro scored twice as they beat second-tier Reading 3-1 to reach the fifth round but Marcus Rashford was denied a record.
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.