Everton 2 Manchester City 0: Pienaar puts the skids under Mancini

16 January 2010 11:08
With breathtaking pirouettes, kisses for stewards, dead-ball ruthlessness and sweet revenge, big-spending Manchester City were cut down to size at fun-loving Goodison.

Everton's Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha supplied the killer blows, smoothly delivered with a minimum of effort. But it was Marouane Fellaini who stole the show with a graceful master-class in midfield.

The home side's superiority left Craig Bellamy humbled and disgruntled while Robinho, City's substituted substitute, must now wonder whether he has a future at Eastlands at all.

Straight down the middle: Saha coolly converts from the spot to double Everton's lead

'He is a good player but it is important that he improves,' saidCity manager Roberto Mancini in what sounded suspiciously like anultimatum.

It may be that Mancini will return to the transfer market in thenext few days in an attempt to ensure that his team are not demolishedlike this again for the rest of the season. 'We'll have to see becausethere are only a few days to go,' he acknowledged, with one eye on awindow that will be closed before we know it.   

Everton manager David Moyes could finally smile again, while Mancini had to admit that he wasn't a magician after all. I

In fact, the Italian was caught up in something he probably did notunderstand - revenge. 'Lescott, Lescott, what's the score?' sang theGoodison crowd with relish, though Joleon, the centre of that bittertransfer saga during the summer, was injured and nowhere to be seen.

Sublime strike: Pienaar fired a majestic free-kick through City's wall to open the scoring

Moyes admitted: 'You enjoy wins when you have not been treatedright,' and acknowledged that losing his star defender had not helpedhis club's fortunes at the start of what has been a difficult season.

But now Everton are back with a bang and their resurgence waspersonified by Fellaini, who pulled all the strings from beneath thatuncontrollable head of hair. And when he produced a double-drag-back topirouette away from the defeated Bellamy in the final minutes, Goodisonsupporters rose to applaud, as though witnessing a master matador atsome Spanish bullfight.

Fellaini could have scored three times, twice with his head and oncewith a boot. But he neutralised City anyway, and the visitors' causewas not helped when Roque Santa Cruz had to go off with a strained calfearly on.                

All smiles: Saha is mobbed by his Everton team-mates

Robinho's performance as replacement was so poor that he, too, wasreplaced in time, and booed like a pantomime villain all the way off.

Everton had already killed off City's fragile spirit. When PabloZabaleta pushed over Saha nine minutes from half-time, Pienaar lifted adeft free-kick over the smaller players in the human barrier, and beatCity captain Shay Given at his near post. Pienaar raced over to aless-than-beautiful steward to celebrate with a hug and a kiss.

'He's always saying come over to him to celebrate and I kept mypromise,' said the South African, who has now netted three goals in asmany games.

Taken to task: Substitute Robinho was hauled off by an unhappy Mancini

In first-half injury-time, Everton gave themselves a winning margin.Micah Richards, insisted on tugging Saha's shirt outside and inside thepenalty area.

Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot and Saha stroked hispenalty down the middle. 'It wasn't a penalty,' claimed Manciniabsurdly.

'If that is a penalty, for a pull of the shirt, then you have togive five or six each game.' Despite three fine efforts from Bellamy,City were never really in it. Moyes knew Fellaini was the star of awonderful show.

'I've been saying for a while he's as good as any player in theLeague and people thought I'd lost my marbles. I knew I had a teambetter than the results were showing. This result was coming.'

 Mega-rich Manchester City's wage bill soars to an incredible £82m a yearAndy Townsend's boot room: Everton will provide first real test for ManciniEverton v Manchester City: The action as it happenedEVERTON FC

Source: Daily_Mail