Sporting end Toffees run

25 February 2010 10:08
Everton crashed out of the Europa League in the first knockout round after losing 3-0 at Sporting Lisbon to go down to a 4-2 aggregate defeat. The Merseysiders headed to Portugal with a one-goal advantage, having edged out Sporting 2-1 at Goodison Park a week ago. The early minutes saw the home side start the brighter, with Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard having to push away a low drive from Marat Izmailov. Sporting went even closer with nearly 20 minutes played as Joao Moutinho's curling free-kick from just over 20 yards out beat Howard but bounced back into play off the crossbar, before Tonel blazed the rebound wide. Ten minutes later Izmailov snatched at his shot after his initial effort was blocked, as Everton continued to come under pressure. The visitors had the ball in the net when Philippe Senderos touched in a Leighton Baines free-kick, but an offside flag cut short the celebrations before they had begun. Soon after the restart Senderos' European debut for Everton was ended by a knee injury, with Phil Jagielka coming on for his first outing since April last year after knee problems of his own. On the hour Howard rescued Everton by blocking Moutinho's shot from eight yards with his feet, as Sporting continued to hold the upper hand. Steven Pienaar curled a shot narrowly wide soon after following a rare Toffees foray forward, but the home side then made the breakthrough. An attack down the left ended with Miguel Veloso breaking clear and driving a shot past Howard at his near post to level the aggregate scores at 2-2, with Sporting holding the advantage by virtue of their away goal. Just over ten minutes later the home side struck again as Pedro Mendes' drive from just outside the area took a slight deflection to nestle in the far corner of Howard's net, after the keeper had blocked Yannick Djalo's initial effort. Djalo almost put the tie beyond Everton as time began to tick away, but his low shot was superbly kept out by Howard, who was enduring a very busy evening. Everton pushed forward in the closing stages, but Sporting hit them on the break right at the death to add a third goal - with substitute Matias Fernandez finishing well after a lucky rebound played him in.

Source: ESA