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Three talking points from the FA Cup semi-final as Lindelof takes Manchester United a step closer to more silverware

Manchester United advanced to the FA Cup final by beating Brighton & Hove Albion on 7-6 penalties today.

The Red Devils will clash with their local city rivals Manchester City in the final on June 3.

Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw started in the heart of the defence. Anthony Martial led the line, with Marcus Rashford and Antony operating from the flanks. 

Bruno Fernandes returned to the side after missing the midweek game against Sevilla due to suspension.

Both teams played too safe at times in fear of conceding first. It was no surprise that neither side could break the deadlock during the 120 minutes.

Fernandes picked up a knock early in the game, forcing Erik ten Hag to take him off in extra time when he could no longer run.

David de Gea and Robert Sanchez failed to save any of the penalties. 

Ultimately, it was Solly March who blazed his spot-kick over the bar. Lindelof stepped up for United and calmly netted his penalty to take his side to the FA Cup final.

Here are three talking points from the game.

Football can be a cruel game at times

Much was anticipated before this game kicked off. It had all the elements on paper to be an exciting game. 

However, it was a cagey affair, with both teams struggling to connect in the final third. 

March has been one of the standout players for Brighton during his time at the Amex Stadium.

However, the 28-year-old was in tears as his penalty miss cost Brighton a place in the final.

‘The Iceman’ Lindelof steps up 

Lindelof produced a superb display in the absence of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. 

He led the back four and complemented Luke Shaw perfectly. The Sweden international made five clearances and ended the game with a passing accuracy of 85%. 

He was extremely calm before slotting the decisive penalty in the top-right corner. 

Lindelof has shown he can be trusted when the first-choice centre-backs are unavailable. If Harry Maguire or Lindelof has to leave this summer, it should be the former.

Manchester United needs to pull up their socks

Ten Hag will be delighted to see his side book a place in the final, but he knows that today’s performance was far from satisfactory.

Fernandes’ early knock did not allow him to be as effective as usual. Martial and Rashford did very little and looked like they were still not fully fit. 

Antony was the bright spark and was involved in the bulk of attacks. However, he often made the wrong decision when it mattered the most.

Man City are flying high, dreaming of a treble this campaign. They won’t have any shortage of motivation and will tear United apart if they play as they did today.