Kaoru Mitoma was the hero for Brighton & Hove Albion as they continued their extraordinary 2022/23 season by knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
The holders made a far better start to their cup clash with the Seagulls than they did during the 3-0 Premier League defeat at the Amex Stadium, but by the time the final whistle blew, the result was fundamentally the same.
Harvey Elliott might have opened the scoring for the visitors, but it wasn’t long before Roberto De Zerbi’s side got back into their groove by levelling the scores with the interval looming.
What happened in Brighton vs Liverpool?
A longe-range drive by Tariq Lamptey found its way past Alisson Becker and into the Liverpool net, though was eventually given as an Lewis Dunk goal courtesy of a touch along the way.
However, fast-forward to stoppage time and it was all about Mitoma, who put a big fat exclamation mark next to his fabulous season by popping up with a last-gasp winner.
You know the drill, Mitoma is a top, top player who has been giving full-backs sleepless nights ever since he pulled on the blue and white stripes, but even by his standards, the winner against Liverpool was a peach.
And while you might have seen the goal from the traditional wide shot you get on television, you haven’t truly appreciated the magic of the strike until you’ve seen the close-up angle.
That’s because it underlines just how outrageous the composure that Mitoma showed in the box truly was, not only fooling the Liverpool defenders, but the camera operator to boot.
Just when it looks as though the Japan international is going to lash a shot towards goal, the Liverpool players turn their backs and the camera swings to the right-hand side in anticipation of a strike flying towards goal.
But no, that would be too simple. Instead, Mitoma proved that ice runs through his veins, taking his time before hammering the final nail in Liverpool’s coffin.
Mitoma is so fake look at this angle pic.twitter.com/laWigzxcaH
— 38 (@sketchy00_) January 29, 2023
To show that level of composure just outside the six-yard box in the dying seconds of a tense clash against one of the best teams in the world is simply stupendous.
If you watch the clip without the context of what happens next, you’d be forgiven for making the exact same mistake as Joe Gomez and the camera operator by bracing yourself for a shot immediately after the first touch.
But had Mitoma kept things that simple, then Brighton likely would have been forced to settle for a 1-1 draw and the prospect of a difficult away day at Anfield in the subsequent replay.