League One strugglers Charlton shocked Brighton to reach the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup as they beat them in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw at The Valley.
When Addicks ‘keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer saved Moises Caicedo’s penalty, Sam Lavelle hit the winning spot-kick as Charlton reached the last eight, 4-3 on penalties, after a goalless draw.
These are tough times for the Addicks, the former Premier League stalwarts now languishing 18th in League One and having appointed their fifth manager in less than two years, Dean Holden, 24 hours earlier.
They were almost behind in the opening five minutes when Lewis Dunk headed a Solly March corner narrowly wide.
Adam Lallana almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion when he collected Tariq Lamptey’s square ball, turned and grazed the crossbar from 20 yards.
But Charlton had their chances in the first half too, Jack Payne cutting inside and fizzing a low shot straight at Jason Steele in the Brighton goal.
Steele then came out to bravely deny Miles Leaburn, the teenage son of former Charlton forward Carl, who was booked for his challenge on the ‘keeper, before Dunk slid in to block Steven Sessegnon’s goalbound shot.
Roberto De Zerbi sent on another of his World Cup contingent, Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma, at the start of the second half in a bid to find some urgency.
It had an effect as Maynard-Brewer quickly had to tip Levi Colwill’s header over before March darted past a couple of challenges into the area only to prod his finish wide.
However, it remained a stalemate and Steele looked set to be the hero in the shootout, saving from George Dobson and Jes Rak-Sakyi.
But when March blazed over and Caicedo’s effort was saved, Lavelle stepped up to send the underdogs through.
De Zerbi apologises for exit
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi:
“I’m sorry for the result and sorry for our fans, we wanted to win the game and play in the quarter-finals.
“I think we played a good game, not a fantastic game but enough to win the game.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the last five metres. We had opportunities to score. And in penalties you can lose. We had match point with March but we made another mistake and when you make another mistake you have to lose.”
What’s next for Charlton & Brighton?
Charlton host Peterborough on Boxing Day in League One; kick-off 3pm.
Brighton head to Southampton on December 26 to resume their Premier League campaign; kick-off 3pm.