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Sporting Lisbon 3 Everton FC 0 (4-2) - Europa League heartache for the Blues
Published : 25 Feb 2010 22:05:00
Steven Pienaar EVERTON'S dreams of Europa League glory this season came to an disappointing end against Sporting Lisbon. Holding a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg, they struggled to cope with a rejuvenated Sporting side. Second-half goals from Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes and susbstitute Matias Fernandez sent the home side through to the last 16. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced into action after just four minutes when Marat Izmailov cut inside. The Russian cracked in a shot but Howard was equal to it and parried the ball to safety. It was an early warning to Everton that Sporting were determined to turn the tie around after a string of indifferent results. The home side had made a bright start and Liedson clipped his effort wide of the post in the 13th minute. Sporting came within a whisker of taking the lead on the night when Senderos, on loan from Arsenal, barged over Yannick Djalo on the edge of the area. Skipper Joao Moutinho stepped forward and sent a sweet free-kick over Howard but saw his effort come back off the bar. Liedson latched on to the rebound but snatched at his effort and it went wide to Everton's relief. However, this was a difficult spell for David Moyes's side who went into the match on a superb run of form after losing only two of their last 13 games in all competitions. Then Miguel Veloso sent a shot into Howard's body as Sporting maintained the momentum. Everton were struggling to get a foothold in the game and Moyes was already looking anxious in the technical area. Certainly they had not started with the intensity they showed at the weekend in the victory against Manchester United. Sporting were having the majority of possession and weaving pretty patterns all over the pitch. They had the advantage as well of having an away goal in the bank after a late revival at Goodison Park. So the last thing Everton wanted was for the home side to pull ahead on the night.