YANNICK SAGBO SCORED a late equaliser as Hull City narrowly avoided an embarrassing FA Cup fifth round exit in their 1-1 draw at Championship side Brighton on Monday.
Steve Bruce’s Premier League team were five minutes away from crashing out after Leonardo Ulloa gave Brighton a first half lead at the Amex Stadium.
However, Ulloa should have probably put the match beyond Hull’s reach had he not sent a header inches wide when he was found unmarked yards out from the goal shortly before half-time.
But Ivory Coast striker Sagbo, who joined Hull from French club Evian last year, bagged only his third goal of the season to spare Hull’s blushes and set up a replay at the KC Stadium.
The winner of the rematch will face Sunderland, managed by former Brighton boss Gus Poyet, in the quarter-finals.
Brighton had made seven changes and Hull six alterations as both sides prioritised their league campaigns.
In the circumstances, it was hardly surprisingly that there were few chances of note until Sagbo stretched to send a volley onto the crossbar in the 27th minute.
That narrow escape for Brighton sparked Oscar Garcia’s team into life and they were soon ahead.
Just three minutes later, Ulloa played an impressive one-two with Will Buckley before surging through on goal and dinking a clinical finish over Allan McGregor.
Hull threatened an immediate leveller as defender Curtis Davies’s header hit the woodwork.
That was as close as Bruce’s side came to equalising until five minutes from time.
With Brighton just minutes away from their first FA Cup quarter-final appearance since 1986, Sagbo foiled their hopes as he calmly fired home after collecting a cross from Sone Aluko.