Manchester United will face fierce rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final after they overcame Brighton in the semi-final on Sunday at the magnificent Wembley Stadium.
Solly March’s spot-kick miss saw Brighton suffer semi-final shoot-out heartache as United stayed on course for a possible domestic double having won the League Cup earlier in the season.
Going into Sunday’s tie after their unceremonious exit from the Europa League where they were sent packing by Sevilla, United knew they needed to pick themselves up as fast as they could.
Brighton made United sweat as the south coast club sought to reach just their second FA Cup final.
After 90 minutes of action, it was 0-0 and nothing changed after 30 minutes of extra time was also played, a development which meant the tie will be decided via penalties.
The first 12 penalties of the shoot-out found the net before Solly March blazed his over, allowing Victor Lindelof to win it 7-6 and set up a Wembley return against City.
March’s miss was the key moment, with Lindelof striking brilliantly in sudden death as the Carabao Cup winners progressed to a record-equalling 21st FA Cup final.
United goalkeeper David de Gea said on BBC One: “It was a very tight game. We played against a really good team.
“We had prepared for penalties as always, I tried to put pressure on the takers. We took perfect penalties.
“We are in another final, but we have another big game on Thursday (at Tottenham), so now we have to go home for recovery and prepare again.
“There is still a long way to go to the final. I am sure it is going to be a big game against one of the best teams in Europe, but we have shown already that we can beat them.
“We already have one trophy, are in another final and going for the top four. Of course, that is not enough, but it is a great step from last season. We keep improving. We have big games coming and have to be ready.”
The last time Manchester United won the FA Cup was in 2016. They defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in the final, with goals from Juan Mata and an extra-time winner from Jesse Lingard.
As for City, their last FA Cup triumph was in 2019 when they hammered Watford 6-0 in what passes as one of the most one-sided Cup finals ever.