Yannick Sagbo scored a late equalizer as Hull City narrowly avoided an embarrassing FA Cup fifth-round exit in their 1-1 draw at Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday.
Steve Bruce’s Premier League team were five minutes away from crashing out after Leonardo Ulloa had given Brighton a first-half lead at the Amex Stadium.
Ulloa would have probably put the match beyond Hull’s reach had he not sent a header narrowly wide when he was found unmarked meters out from the goal shortly before halftime.
However, Ivory Coast striker Sagbo, who joined Hull from French club Evian Thonon Gaillard last year, then bagged only his third goal of the season to spare Hull a humiliating loss and set up a replay at the KC Stadium.
The winners of the rematch will face Sunderland — who are managed by former Brighton coach Gus Poyet — in the quarter-finals.
Brighton made seven changes on Monday and Hull six as both sides prioritized their league campaigns.
Under those circumstances, it was hardly surprisingly that there were few chances worth noting until Sagbo stretched to send a volley crashing into the crossbar in the 27th minute.
That narrow escape for Brighton sparked Oscar Garcia’s team to life and they soon pulled ahead.
Just three minutes after Sagbo’s attempt, Ulloa played an impressive one-two with Will Buckley, before surging through on goal and a clinical finish over Allan McGregor.
Hull immediately threatened to level, but defender Curtis Davies’s header hit the woodwork and that was as close as Bruce’s side came to equalizing until five minutes from time.
With Brighton just minutes away from reaching their first FA Cup quarter-finals since 1986, Sagbo crushed their hopes as he calmly fired home after collecting a cross from Sone Aluko.