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Stadium of Light | 27th March 2012 20:00

Sunderland v Everton

Tell your mothers. Everton are going to Wembley.

And the opponents aren't just any old foe either.

A stunning display of composure and craft, a fine finish from Nikica Jelavic and a comedy own goal from David Vaughan saw David Moyes' men swagger to a sensational replay victory at the Stadium of Light and set up a mouthwatering FA Cup semi-final showdown with Liverpool.

Not since 1989 have the two sides of this city met on such a stage. Anticipation in the weeks to follow will be nothing less than fever pitch.

Three years ago a sea of blue rolled down the M6 towards London - twice - as Evertonians relished the chance to sample the country's grand national stadium for the first time in 14 years.

Just three years on, those waves are set to gather pace again.  
 
It has much to do with the FA's decision to make Wembley the host venue for the semi-finals of its principal competition, though that will matter little to the joyous hordes who bound towards the capital next month with Kenny Dalglish's Carling Cup winners in their sights.

Wembley Way will again be awash with Blue, songs advising mothers to abort all dinner plans will be sung and the two sides of a frenzied football city will do battle in the most tantalizing of circumstances.

Maroune Fellaini challenges for the ball with Stephane Sessegnon.Maroune Fellaini challenges for the ball with Stephane Sessegnon.

The last meeting between the two sides in the FA Cup provided the drama of an 118th-minute Dan Gosling winner as Moyes' men despatched of their rivals en route to that ultimately fruitless final against Chelsea.

If they are to play a part in the season's showpiece in 2012 they will need to silence their neighbours and greatest rivals once again.

Having been rested for Saturday's 2-0 win at Swansea, John Heitinga and Marouane Fellaini returned to the starting line-up in place of Phil Jagielka and Tony Hibbert. There was also a role for French youngster Magaye Gueye who was called upon to deputise for the cup-tied Steven Pienaar.

The noise emanating from around the Stadium of Light ahead of kick off was deafening, with 6,200 excitable Evertonians unquestionably playing their part.

A frantic start was therefore perhaps inevitable and it wasn't long before Leon Osman was teasing his way down the left and producing a centre which Jelavic only marginally failed to connect with.

Tim Cahill, scorer of the goal in the first tie at Goodison Park, has found the target more often against the Black Cats than any other club. He was soon trying to add to that tally, though his frustration clearly showed after a tame drilled effort was all too easily gathered by keeper Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian stopper was soon in action again as Jelavic forced a smart reaction save with a solid header from a Darron Gibson corner.

But if that was a warning of the striker's threat, it wasn't heeded; Mignolet's next battle with the Croat would end in defeat.

The move started with Fellaini gaining possession down the Everton left and quickly prodding it in the direction of the more advanced Gueye. The French youngster looked up, drilled in a low cross and there was Jelavic, arriving on cue to expertly side-foot an unstoppable shot low into the bottom corner.

Nikica Jelavic reels away to celebrate his fine first half strike.Nikica Jelavic reels away to celebrate his fine first-half strike.

Sebastian Larsson curled a free-kick a yard wide of Tim Howard's post by way of reply, but for the most part it was the visitors dictating the pace.

The second half began much the same as the first with Everton swiping the initiative from the off.

Within seconds of the restart Osman met a high looping ball on the edge of the box with an exquisitely executed volley which soared agonisingly wide of Mignolet's upright with the keeper rooted to the turf.

O'Neill reacted almost immediately in withdrawing former Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos and replacing him with midfielder Vaughan.

But the Ulsterman could only look on in horror just four minutes later as the former Blackpool man bundled the ball into his own net in calamitous fashion.

Jelavic looked odds on to net himself when he was played in by Fellaini but the run of the pass took him wide and he could only scuff his shot across the face of goal. Weak as it was, his effort caused Vaughan to get his legs in a tangle, his shin ultimately providing the touch which fired Everton ever closer to the final four.

The travelling Blue support sing their hearts out.The travelling Evertonians sing their hearts out.

Dangerman Jelavic then pulled another diving save from Mignolet, before Gueye issued a further demonstration of the victors' domination, neatly selling a dummy to Craig Gardner before rasping one inches over the crossbar.

Sunderland did sample a greater spell of possession as the Blues sat tight on what they had. But who could blame them? Liverpool, at Wembley, await.

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