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v Wolfsburg

Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05



16th February 2010 17:45

Everton v Sporting

Everton will travel to Lisbon's Estádio José Alvalade with a narrow advantage after a 2-1 victory over Sporting at Goodison on Tuesday. 

An excellent first-half finish from Steven Pienaar and a second from Sylvain Distin secured a win for the Blues, but Distin's late red card that lead to Lisbon's priceless away goal from Miguel Veloso's penalty meant the win was bittersweet.

It was a vibrant start from Everton, and a sharp one-two between Tim Cahill and Louis Saha set the Frenchman up for Everton's first real shot of the game on 10 minutes. A fine save from Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio denied the in-form striker, and Leon Osman's follow-up effort also expertly repelled by the custodian.

On 20 minutes Saha was on the receiving end of a crunching tackle right on the edge of the box and the Goodison faithful roared for a penalty - but referee Darko Ceferin dismissed the claim.

Sporting's Abel send in a decent effort for the visitors midway through the half but the long-range drive flew narrowly over Tim Howard's crossbar.

Everton channelled the majority of their incisive attacking play down the right flank - and so it was no surprise that the opener came from that avenue. Captain Phil Neville's neat pass to Cahill prompted a clever back-heel from the Australian into the path of Pienaar who struck an excellent finish into the right-hand corner of the goal on 34 minutes.

Sporting captain and Portuguese international Moutinho troubled Howard with a close-range effort on 38 minutes - and moments before the half-time whistle Everton went extremely close to doubling their advantage when Baines' free-kick found the head of Saha. Unfortunately, the striker headed over.

The Toffees did double their lead just three minutes into the second period through Distin. The defender was fortunately placed to knock home a Leighton Baines' corner. Cahill's leap distracted keeper Patricio and the ball fell straight to the Frenchman who knew little about his goal until it trickled over the line.

David Moyes introduced Yakubu on the hour mark as the infuential Cahill limped off with a calf problem. His strike partner Saha continued to trouble Sporting, and another foul on the Frenchman with 15 minutes to spare handed Everton a free-kick from 25 yards.

Mikel Arteta was the man to take - the Spaniard sampling his first taste of European action this season - but his effort was off target. Arteta left the field moments later, replaced by Jack Rodwell. 

Sporting substitute Carlos Saliero then came close to pulling one back for his side, but Saha threatened at the other end before he was replaced by Diniyar Bilyletdinov for the final few minutes.

But Everton's advantage was eventually halved in frustrating fashion after goalscorer Distin was adjudged to have fouled Liedson in the box, with just five minutes left

His challenge saw Sporting awarded a penalty and to make matters worse, Distin received a straight red card for the foul and Veloso's strike sent Howard the wrong way to change the entire complection of the tie.



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