Penalty woe for Toffees
Everton go out despite dominating proceedings
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 12/03/08 11:10pm
Despite a brave effort from Everton against Fiorentina they eventually exited the Uefa Cup on penalties.
Andrew Johnson and Mikel Arteta had levelled the tie up on aggregate, but two failures in the shoot-out eventually saw the Italians progress to the quarter-finals at their expense.
Everton dominated proceedings in the opening period and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring after just 16 minutes.
Steven Pienaar swung in a teasing cross from the left and Yakubu Aiyegbeni caused havoc in front of Sebastien Frey causing the keeper to allow the ball to squirt under his body. Unfortunately for him Johnson was following in behind and bundled the ball into an empty net off his chest.
Phil Jagielka, Johnson again and Yakubu all then went close for the Toffees as they went in search of a leveller, but were ultimately wasteful in front of goal.
Fiorentina posed little in terms of an attacking threat throughout the opening 45 minutes, with a tame Martin Jorgensen volley just before the half hour mark the closest they came to beating Tim Howard.
David Moyes' men continued to create, and then waste, chances throughout the second period as the crowd grew increasingly anxious.
They need not have worried though as Arteta brought the scores level on aggregate with a sublime effort on 66 minutes.
Picking up the ball just inside the Italian's half, the Spaniard drove towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive past a helpless Frey and inside the far post.
Neither side could then find a break through in the remainder of normal time, nor the additional 30 minutes, so the game went to spot kicks.
Yakubu saw his effort hit a post while Jagielka had his saved, and with Fiorentina successfully converting all four of their efforts it was they who went through to the last eight.
Everton dominated the game from the start and the big surprise was that they breached the Fiorentina goal only once in the first half.
They signalled their intentions as early as the second minute when Andrew Johnson headed the ball back to Leon Osman after two minutes.
The midfielder cracked in a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected to safety in front of a packed crowd.
OpenerEverton made the breakthrough in the 16th minute when Steven Pienaar delivered a cross from the left, goalkeeper Sebastien Frey seemed to be distracted by the presence of Ayegbeni Yakubu and the ball broke to Johnson, who bundled in from close range.
With only a goal now separating the sides Everton stepped up the pressure and Mikel Arteta smacked a shot wide following a cross from Joleon Lescott.
Everton maintained the momentum but Johnson made an unsuccessful penalty claim following a challenge from Manuel Pasqual.
The ball broke to Osman, who cracked in a fierce shot, only to see Frey make a good parry.
Phil Jagielka sent a header over the bar in the 29th minute following a free-kick from Arteta, before Martin Jorgensen tested goalkeeper Tim Howard with a fine volley at the other end in the 32nd minute.
Two minutes later Everton almost drew level on aggregate when Yakubu weaved his way into the area but Frey parried his shot and it was eventually cleared.
Johnson then peeled away from his marker to get on the end of Arteta's corner, only to head over the top.
Yakubu found the net in first half stoppage-time - only for his effort to be ruled out for offside after Frey made a superb save from Johnson.
Everton came within inches of drawing level in the 47th minute when Lescott headed on a corner from the influential Arteta - but Pasqual cleared off the line.
The Barclays Premier League side carved out another good chance in the 63rd minute when Johnson released Yakubu in the penalty area - but the Nigerian was crowded out and the chance was lost.
Fittingly it was Arteta who pulled the teams level on aggregate in the 66th minute with a stunning strike from 25 yards.
Frey, who had kept out a string of shots, was powerless to prevent the ball zipping into the net and it was game on.
Frey then saved a shot from defender Joseph Yobo with his knees to prevent Everton taking the lead.
Everton were almost hit by a sucker punch in the 76th minute when substitute Giampaolo Pazzini flicked in a header but Howard reacted superbly to push his effort over the bar.
It was Fiorentina, though, who almost went ahead in extra-time but Pazzini saw his effort go narrowly wide of the post.
Everton hit back and carved out a good chance in the 103rd minute when Johnson released Yakubu.
He got a decent touch and took the ball on, only to blast a shot wide of the target.
Johnson then tried to pick out Yakubu in the 109th minute when he could have tried his luck on goal and his pass was blocked.
And there was only heartache for Everton as they went down 4-2 in shoot-out with Yakubu and Jagielka failing to convert their efforts, while their Italian opponents were clinical from the penalty spot.
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