Graham Potter’s men gifted Leicester’s Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman a goal each in the first half at the King Power Stadium but showed their mettle by equalising through Adam Webster and then Enock Mwepu, which took the game to a penalty shootout.
Jason Steele couldn’t make a save in the shootout, while Neal Maupay and Enock Mwepu missed their spot-kicks, which ultimately sent Albion out of the competition.
Let’s take a look at five thing we learned from this encounter.
1. Enock Mwepu impact: The Zambian came on at half-time and injected energy into the midfield. His box-to-box running was a handful for Leicester, which was missing in the first half.
The 23-year-old was stretching the opposition, getting in behind, shooting on sight, and arriving in dangerous spaces – on another day he might have scored two or three. Every time I’ve seen him play - which is about three times – he has looked industrious, positive and wanting to make something happen.
It looks like he’s always fighting for a starting place, which is testament to him and the competitive nature of the squad.
2. Jeremy Sarmiento: The 19-year-old academy product looks like a talent. He was tasked with playing as a central striker in the first half against Caglar Soyuncu and Jan Vestergaard. Not the easiest of evenings. However, he dropped deep, played in between the lines and held the ball up well and brought others into play. The way he wriggled in and out of tight spaces with close control had shades of Leandro Trossard about it.
After a positive start, he gifted Leicester a goal on the stroke of half-time with a howler of a pass back to Steele. Overall, though, he was easily one of Albion’s best players in the first half and should take confidence from his display going forward.
3. Masters of their own downfall: Albion would have won if they didn’t gift Leicester two goals. That said, The Foxes looked like they had done their homework on the way Brighton play out from the back.
Both of Leicester’s goals were from cutting out passes high in Albion’s half. Their forward players came alive when they saw Albion look a bit shaky playing it out from the back, which appeared to be a trigger for a high and intense press.
Albion won’t change the way they play but they need to get better at it if they want to avoid looking silly by conceding unnecessary goals like tonight.
4. Yves Bissouma: The Mali international made his first appearance since injuring his knee in the Premier League victory against Leicester last month.
Bissouma has been in the matchday squads since the 0-0 draw at Norwich but has yet to feature in the league. He came on in the 60th minute at the King Power for Webster – who himself played his first minutes having recovered from a hamstring injury – and Potter now faces a huge decision on whether he starts the midfielder at Anfield.
5. Strength in depth: The Brighton boss brought on Maupay, Mwepu, Marc Cucurella, Lewis Dunk, and Bissouma in search of a goal in the second half.
To have those options off the bench while competing with a half decent second-string Leicester team is not a bad place to be.
Mwepu’s 71st minute equaliser was created by three of those five subs combining in and around the Leicester box.
After the game, Potter said: “Credit to the boys, though, they responded well again. I thought they were really good in the second half. We got the equaliser and could maybe have got another one but overall it was a good performance from us.”