Belfast Telegraph

Hughton's heroes to face City after shootout triumph

Millwall 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 2 AET, Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

Flashpoint: Shane Ferguson clashes with Lewis Dunk
Flashpoint: Shane Ferguson clashes with Lewis Dunk

By Robert Jones

Brighton boss Chris Hughton insisted that being paired with Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals didn't dampen the euphoria of yesterday's dramatic victory over Millwall.

Trailing by two goals with two minutes left on the clock, the Seagulls shocked The Den by roaring back to level before progressing 5-4 on penalties.

"The first word that comes to mind once you have won it is 'character'," said Hughton.

"At 2-0 down you are out of the competition, I felt we could get one back with the balance of play.

"But to get two back in that last period shows great character and of course missing the first penalty and them scoring the first three, also shows wonderful character and composure from a group of players that desperately wanted to go through."

Shortly after their success, Brighton were drawn to face quadruple-chasing City in the last four, with Watford and Wolves facing off in the other semi-final tie.

"I don't think I'd be saying anything out of turn if all three of us (Brighton, Watford and Wolves) all would have wanted to avoid Man City," added Hughton.

"At this moment they are one of the best teams in the world and going for four competitions but, as shown today and yesterday, teams can get close and there can be upsets."

Millwall manager Neil Harris defended goalkeeper David Martin after he was left "devastated" by his last-gasp error which led to Brighton's leveller.

"I feel for David Martin because he was excellent throughout the game, absolutely commanded his box, made some good saves, good kicking and has made a slight error in judgement and it has cost us," said Harris, who had Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson sent off in the final minute of extra-time for stamping on Lewis Dunk.

In Saturday's first quarter-final, Watford beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Vicarage Road.

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