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  • Everton 2-1 Sporting CP: Pienaar, Distin score

    Steven Pienaar capped a superb Everton move to put the home side ahead after 35 minutes before Distin doubled the advantage.

    But the former Manchester City man saw red late in the second half as Miguel Veloso halved the deficit ahead of the second leg.

    Everton's season has burst into life of late with David Moyes's side suffering just two defeats in 11 games in all competitions before the arrival of Sporting, who arrested a run of three successive defeats with a goalless draw at the weekend.

    Moyes was rocked by the news before kick-off that Marouane Fellaini, needing ankle surgery following a challenge with Sotiris Kyrgiakos during the Merseyside derby, would miss the rest of the season.

    And Everton were slow to start as both teams exchanged possession without threatening to enter the final third.

    The game sparked into life when Louis Saha exchanged passes with Tim Cahill before forcing a smart save from Rui Patricio in the Sporting goal.

    And Cahill was at his brilliant best as Everton opened the scoring with a fine flowing move.

    Philip Neville drove forward from the right-back position before threading a diagonal ball to Cahill in the box with the Australian flicking a delightful backheel to Pienaar, who fired into the roof of the net.

    Everton made it two four minutes after the break when Leighton Baines, a contender for the England left-back spot after Ashley Cole's injury, swung in a corner and Distin bundled home.

    From there the game looked safe, with Sporting enjoying plenty of the ball without threatening the Everton goal.

    But the Toffees will be left to rue a moment off madness as Sporting struck back with just three minutes remaining.

    Substitute Jack Rodwell hit a fierce pass to Distin and the defender failed to control the ball, instead hauling down Liedson to give away a penalty and receive a straight red card.

    And Veloso beat Tim Howard with the resulting spot-kick as the visitors earned a valuable away goal to take back to Portugal.
    George Scott / Eurosport



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