Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hughton urges Brighton to believe in Man City semi

SoccerNews in FA Cup 17 Mar 2019

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Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton underlined the importance of belief after they were handed an FA Cup semi-final tie with Manchester City.

Hughton’s men appeared to be tumbling out of the competition on Sunday as they trailed Championship strugglers Millwall 2-0.

However, Jurgen Locadia gave them hope with an 88th-minute strike before Millwall goalkeeper David Martin inexplicably allowed Solly March’s free-kick to slip through his hands and into the net with the last kick of normal time.

Brighton again came from behind in the penalty shoot-out after failing to find a winner against 10-man Millwall, who had Shane Ferguson sent-off in extra time. 

Jake Cooper blazed over the crossbar to give Brighton a place in the last four and the dubious reward of facing quadruple-chasing Manchester City at Wembley.

Hughton told BBC One: “All three other teams probably didn’t want to play Man City but at the moment we are so pleased to go through and if we don’t think we can win, then there is no point going into the tie.

“We are up against one of the best sides in the country, but on the day, we have a chance and we will have to have everything go our way.”

On his side’s remarkable equaliser, he added: “As soon as Solly [March] played the ball in, we were disappointed because he over hit it but sometimes you need those moments. We probably didn’t create enough of them but we had a bit of fortune to swing it our way.

“We were confident in the penalty shoot-out, but when you miss the first one and they score, you think it may not be our day. But we showed enough with our remaining takers and I think we showed more over the 90 minutes.”

Millwall boss Neil Harris sprung to the defence of his keeper but slammed defender Ferguson, who would have taken a penalty had he not deservedly seen red for stamping on Lewis Dunk.

He said: “David Martin is one of the best pros I have come across. He is a great lad, so popular. He deserved his opportunity to come into the team last week. He was outstanding for the whole game baring one moment. That is football.

“I am a big believer of whoever misses the first penalty wins the shoot-out. I wasn’t confident. Shane Ferguson is our best penalty taker and wasn’t on the pitch because of a moment of stupidity. The players put themselves forward so I have no problems with them missing at all.

“I am frustrated. Missing the chance to lead the team in an FA Cup semi-final is a huge frustration for myself, staff, players and fans.”

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