Solly March missed a penalty for the Seagulls in the shootouts, allowing Victor Lindelof to fire home the winning effort in sudden death as the sides played out a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes.
Despite a lack of goals, it was far from a drab encounter, with Brighton giving United a serious run for their money with their pace, directness and swift movements.
As for the Red Devils, their best moments came on the counters, but weren’t clinical enough to beat a resilient Seagulls outfit, who pushed them all the way to the shootouts.
There too, the sides were level at 6-6, but then, March blazed his shot into the stands as Lindelof capitalized on the opportunity to convert his spot-kick and send United through.
Here are three major talking points from the game:
#3 Manchester United need to invest in new attackers
Manchester United have had no serious issue scoring goals this season, but that’s because Marcus Rashford was in a great form until recently. Now that he’s gone off the boil, the Red Devils have failed to fire, which highlighted their chronic dependence on the forward.
For back-to-back games now, Erik ten Hag’s side failed to score a goal, even while having mustered nine shots on target combined. Bruno Fernandes was perhaps the only bright spark for United last evening, with Anthony Martial, Antony and Christian Eriksen all below par.
The club prevailed over Brighton regardless, but their lack of shooting boots could cost them against a fit-and-firing City squad, led by the peerless Erling Haaland, who famously scored a hat-trick against them back in October.
Manchester United not only need a new goalkeeper, but also some new and solid options in the offensive vanguard.
#2 Brighton are the real deal – European qualification next?
Brighton have had an impressive campaign by their standards. Although they ultimately fell short against United last night, the Seagulls gave them a hard time in the game.
On the league front, Roberto De Zerbi’s side are in eighth position of the table with 49 points, just four behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with three games in hand over them.
It’s also worth noting that Brighton came into last night’s fixture on the back of a stunning 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which was another demonstration of their potential.
Should they continue in the same vein for the remainder of their top-flight season, the southern outfit could realistically seal European qualification for next season.
#1 A titillating derby awaits in the FA Cup finals
For the first time in the FA Cup history, we have a Manchester derby in the finals as Manchester United take on Manchester City in the showpiece clash.
Both teams have plenty at stakes here – United are looking to complete a cup double, having already won the Carabao Cup back in February, while City are aiming for an FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League treble.
Given their rich vein of form right now, the Sky Blues are the favorites to prevail, but could United somehow cause an upset? There are a few riders, though, as the side must shore up their backline following a series of defensive mistakes in recent outings, while also finding their attacking boots.
Who do you think will take home the FA Cup trophy this season? Let us know in the comments!