London - Ten-man Everton sounded a probable
death knell on Manchester City's title defence with a hard-fought 2-0
win over the Premier League champions at Goodison Park on Saturday.
the second-half dismissal of Steven Pienaar, Everton dug deep for a
victory that means Manchester United can go 15 points clear at the top
of the table by winning at home to Reading later.
Leon Osman made
the breakthrough for the hosts in the 32nd minute, meeting Seamus
Coleman's lay-off with a swerving shot from 25 yards that deceived
goalkeeper Joe Hart and flew into the top-left corner.
momentum tilted in City's favour with half an hour to play when Pienaar
was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a shin-high foul
on Javi Garcia.
However, Everton's second-choice goalkeeper Jan
Mucha kept the visitors at bay, producing fine saves to thwart Carlos
Tevez, James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta.
City were also denied a
clear penalty in the 86th minute when referee Lee Probert awarded the
visitors a free-kick for a hand-ball by Marouane Fellaini that occured
inside the 18-yard box.
Substitute Nikica Jelavic curled in
Everton's second goal in injury time to seal a win that lifted David
Moyes' side to fifth place and banished memories of last weekend's
abject loss to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup.
Later on Saturday,
Arsenal will bid to put their Champions League elimination by Bayern
Munich behind them when they visit Swansea City.
Liverpool go in search of a fourth consecutive league victory at Southampton, while Stoke City host West Bromwich Albion.
is also a potentially crucial relegation tussle at Villa Park, where
bottom club Queens Park Rangers visit fourth-bottom Aston Villa.