Romelu Lukaku scored the winner to claim a vital victory in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at Goodison Park.
Manchester City controlled the tense tactical battle but failed to capitalize on their possession and opportunities, facing similar situation since last summer. Manuel Pellegrini pointed out that the first leg 2-1 deficit is not an impossible task and the Chilean manager believes his side can prevail if they take their chances and subdue tough Everton midfield.
The visitors tried their best to hit the target as early as possible to put pressure on Roberto Martinez and his team. Manchester City showed energy and character in the midfield but the strikers could not utilize those half chances that left the traveling fans in despair.
Everton took the lead when Argentine Ramiro Mori put the ball past City keeper Caballero right on the half time. Manuel Pellegrini’s men protested to claim offside as Lukaku was standing in an offside position. But referee Robert Madley waved away City’s protests, apparently Lukaku did not touch the ball and did not make a movement towards it.
The Citizens looked to have secured a draw with 14 minutes left, when Jesus Navas finished a brilliant counter attack following amazing work by Sergio Aguero. Everton went 2-1 up within two minutes when Lukaku scored from Gareth Barry’s inch perfect cross. The Belgian has been enjoying fabulous season at Goodison Park and he scored his 12th goal in 12 games.
“Everton’s first goal was absolutely offside and it was a clear penalty when Jesus Navas was fouled, said Manchester City boss Pellegrini during the post-game conference. “To lose 2-1 is a bad result but it just means we have to win 1-0 at home. I still think we are able to play in the Capital One Cup final.”
The visitors enjoyed more than half of the possession and recorded 18 shots but only 4 were on target. Both the clubs earned six corner kicks each while Everton made 5 fouls as compared to the Citizens’ 4 offences. IMAGE/Getty Images