Everton sink Manchester United

2009-04-19 20:03
Everton players celebrate their victory. (AFP)
Wembley - Tim Howard stopped two penalty kicks Sunday to give Everton a 4-2 shootout victory over Manchester United and a first FA Cup final appearance in 14 years.

The teams had drawn 0-0 through extra time of the semifinals at Wembley before the American goalkeeper blocked shots from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand to help put Everton into next month's final against Chelsea.

Defender Phil Jagielka then scored the winning kick, with only Tim Cahill missing for Everton.

A United team mostly composed of reserve players had been marginally the better side through regular time but needed goalkeeper Ben Foster to stop an extra time shot to the far post by Cahill, who was then unlucky to be denied a run on goal with 10 minutes left when the referee ruled he had won the ball with a foul.

United manager Alex Ferguson's gamble on playing a reserve team seemingly backfired as Danny Welbeck, Frederico Macheda and Darron Gibson struggled to force clear openings against an organized Everton team.

Trying to conserve resources for the continued defence of his club's Premier League and Champions League titles, Ferguson left Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar out of his squad.

His starting line-up had just 106 Premier League starts between them this season, compared to 327 for an Everton side as strong as injuries would allow.

Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were the only first-team regulars in United's starting line-up, with four players not beginning a Premier League match this season and another trio totalling just 19 starts between them.

And Everton's greater experience was further illustrated by the fact that it had more players on its line-up to have won the FA Cup, although both its former winners _ Howard and Phil Neville _ lifted the trophy while with United.

Foster, who helped United to a shootout win over Tottenham in last month's League Cup final, could not reach any of Everton's kicks and did little to impress watching England coach Fabio Capello.

He was lucky not to concede a goal in the 21st when he tried to dribble following a back pass and was pressured by former United striker Louis Saha. The French forward lunged to block a hurried clearance but the ball, which could have rebounded anywhere, hit him and dropped back into the arms of Foster, who was stranded on the ground.

Leighton Baines, Neville, James Vaughan and Jagielka smashed their penalty kicks past him, with Cahill sending his kick - Everton's first - high over the bar.


Arsenal keep Euro bid alive

2014-04-15 22:55


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