Sporting Lisbon 3 Everton 0: Tim Howard's best can't repel the Portuguese siege
By Chris Wheeler reports from Lisbon Last updated at 1:16 AM on 26th February 2010
Another chastening night in Lisbon saw Everton crash out of the Europa League, victims of their own failure to keep a clean sheet at home and prevent Sporting from celebrating a deserved victory in the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Thrashed 5-0 in the Portuguese capital by Benfica just four months ago, David Moyes and his players will be glad to see the back of the place after second-half goals from Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes and Matias Fernandez put their opponents safely through to the last 16 and a meeting with Atletico Madrid.
Good Sport: Miguel Veloso (left) celebrates after scoring
They can have no complaints.
It was Veloso's late penalty in Sporting's 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park last week that transformed what should have been a relatively straightforward second leg into a very different encounter last night, and Everton were quite simply not up to the challenge. They allowed their opponents far too much space and possession from the start, perhaps underestimating their ability to make it count.
Sporting may have slipped from the heady days of 2007 when they faced Manchester United in the group stage of the Champions League but this, after all, is a club that has now won on all seven occasions they have come up against English opposition in knockout competition.
So close: But Everton's Louis Saha can't find a way past Sporting's goalkeeper Rui Patricio
'We never got started,' said a disconsolate Moyes. 'Sporting were the better team and deserve to go through. There was a weight of pressure throughout and we never had enough of the ball.
'I didn't see it coming. We felt confident over two legs but maybe we made mistakes in the first leg. We didn't get to the levels we have in recent weeks.'
It may have been a very different Everton side that arrived in Portugal this time following the Benfica debacle. One high on confidence after successive Premier League wins over Chelsea and United, and able to call on key players like Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta and Louis Saha, who led the line after learning he had been called up to the France squad for the first time since 2006 earlier in the day. But the result was very much the same.
Breakthrough: Sporting's Miguel Veloso scores the opening goal
Marat Izmailov delivered a warning shot as early as the fourth minute, a low drive from a tight angle that Tim Howard palmed away into his six-yard box and Leighton Baines cleared to safety.
Sporting Lisbon (4-4-2): Rui Patricio 6; Abel 6, Tonel 5, Daniel Carrico 6, Grimi 5 (Carlos Saleiro 62min, 6); Izmailov 7 (Fernandez 90), Joao Moutinho 8, Mendes 7, Veloso 7; Djalo 6, Liedson 7 (Polga 90).
Everton (4-5-1): Howard 6; Neville 6, Yobo 5, Senderos 5 (Jagielka 52min, 6), Baines 6; Bilyaletdinov 4 (Rodwell 61, 6), Arteta 6, Osman 5, Pienaar 6, Donovan 6 (Yakubu 73, 6); Saha 6.
Man of the match: Joao Moutinho.
Referee: Alon Yefet (Israel).
It seemed to go unheeded as Sporting went even closer after a quarter of an hour. Philippe Senderos was penalised for fouling Yannick Djalo on the edge of the area and Joao Moutinho, a transfer target for Moyes not so long ago, saw his right-foot freekick come back off the bar and rebound to Tonel who could not take advantage as Howard picked himself up off the floor, firing wide.
Everton just could not get a foothold in the game with Izmailov and Mendes, the former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder, particularly influential, and Moutinho making life as hard as possible for Leon Osman to man mark him in midfield.
Senderos did manage to put the ball in the net with Everton's first sight of goal two minutes from the end of an alarmingly one-sided first half, but the Frenchman was well offside when he met Baines's inswigning freekick with a scuffed effort that bounced over Rui Patricio and it was promptly ruled out.
Senderos jarred his knee blocking a shot from Moutinho shortly after the restart, paving the way for Phil Jagielka to make his comeback after 10 months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury, but he will not remember it with any fondness whatsoever as Sporting grabbed a crucial goal in the 64th minute.
Hard to watch: Sporting's Joao Moutinho controls the ball in front of Everton's coach David Moyes
Howard had already produced two fine saves to turn Moutinho's close-range volley around the post and tip over Abel's long-range effort, but he could not stop Veloso when a ball behind the Everton defence sprang the offside trap and enable the midfielder to fire home from a tight angle despite Phil Neville's last-ditch challenge.
Howard was beaten again after 76 minutes and again it came after he had produce a good save to keep his team in the game, palming away Leidson's drive.
Everton failed to clear the danger and the ball fell for Mendes whose shot through a crowd of players from 20 yards took a slight deflection off Jack Rodwell and past his keeper.
An Everton goal would still have taken the tie to extra-time, and Moyes's side finally went on the offensive. But it was Neville's blocked effort that Sporting broke away for their third goal, Djalo feeding Fernandez who prodded the ball past Howard and tucked it into the empty net with the last kick of the game.
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