Brighton knocked FA Cup holders Liverpool out of the competition on Sunday as Hollywood star and Wrexham owner Ryan Reynolds saw his non-League side denied a dramatic victory by Sheffield United in a six-goal thriller.
Kaoru Mitoma’s brilliant control and stoppage-time finish to seal a 2-1 victory was another blow for Liverpool, whose season is going fast just months after coming close to winning a historic quadruple.
The Reds had led at the Amex through Harvey Elliott but have now won just once in their last six games in all competitions.
Lewis Dunk equalized before the break for the home side and they were well worth their place in the fifth round thanks to a moment of magic from Mitoma.
The Japanese winger cushioned Pervis Estupinan’s cross on his way, sent the ball over Joe Gomez and fired high past Alisson Becker in the 92nd minute.
“He’s an incredible player who I think can play a notch higher,” said Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi. “I’m happy with his goal.”
Liverpool languish in ninth place in the Premier League, 21 points behind leaders Arsenal.
An FA Cup exit leaves the Champions League as their only remaining shot at a trophy this season.
Jurgen Klopp described Brighton’s 3-0 win when the sides met earlier this month as a “horror sight”.
And the German coach at least plucked up a bit of courage during his time performance on Sunday.
“I’m not thrilled with this performance but, again, the only thing that really happened was that we lost to a good team, who we lost to two weeks ago in a game awful,” Klopp said. “Today was much better.
“We’re obviously in a situation where we constantly want to take the last step. That’s why it now feels particularly bad right now because it didn’t happen.”
The hosts were without Moises Caicedo after the Ecuadorian took to social media on Friday in an attempt to force a move to Arsenal.
Brighton have already lost Leandro Trossard, who scored a hat-trick against Liverpool earlier in the season, to the Gunners this month.
But those absences didn’t show up as Liverpool had their chance for most of the second half.
Ibrahima Konate and Fabinho were extremely lucky to escape red cards for challenges on Alexis Mac Allister and Evan Ferguson.
Alisson threw himself past Solly March to make a brilliant save from Mitoma’s inventive cross and Konaté did the same to block Ferguson.
But Brighton’s pressure was finally rewarded when Mitoma scored his fourth goal in six games.
– Wrexham’s grief –
Wrexham are the last remaining non-league club in the competition, but were disappointed as John Egan made it 3-3 in the dying seconds for the 10-man Blades.
The hosts couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start as Oli McBurnie headed Sheffield United in front after 61 seconds.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side look set for a return to the Premier League next season but have been rocked by a thrilling atmosphere inside the racecourse.
James Jones and Thomas O’Connor struck within 11 minutes early in the second half to turn things around.
Oli Norwood quickly equalized but the momentum turned again towards Wrexham when Daniel Jebbison was sent off 20 minutes from time.
Paul Mullin looked to have pulled off the shock of the set with a calm finish with four minutes remaining, only for Egan to break Wrexham’s heart by turning home a corner on the death.
Mullin said he was “very disappointed” to have conceded so late.
“I’m so proud of everyone,” he said. “We worked so hard to get here. We came into the game thinking we could win and we had a game plan. Unfortunately it didn’t quite pay off, but I think when the dust will settle tomorrow, we will be proud of it.”
Stoke reached the last 16 with a 3-1 win over Stevenage.
There was no clash in Saturday’s action, with all Premier League sides advancing to the fifth round except Fulham, who were held 1-1 by Championship side Sunderland .
Manchester City beat Arsenal 1-0 on Friday to progress, with Derby set to face struggling West Ham on Monday.