Everton fell to a late 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in a lacklustre FA Cup Quarter Final at Goodison Park.
Missing Jordan Pickford, Abdoulaye Doucouré and James Rodríguez, Carlo Ancelotti went with a rather defensive approach for the match, starting a back five consisting of Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne, Mason Holgate, Ben Godfrey and the returning Yerry Mina.
They and the midfield trio ahead of them were extremely resolute in the first forty five and limited City to very few threatening moments. And whilst they may not have had a great deal of possession, Everton did ask a fair few questions of their visitors, particularly from set-pieces, with a glanced Mina header the closest either side came to a breakthrough before the interval.
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Considering their absentees and the quality of their opposition, Everton had done brilliantly to keep the scores level going into the second half and will have felt quietly confident that a huge cup upset was on the cards.
Half Time: Everton 0-0 Manchester City
After a further forty minutes of exceptional Everton defending and little City product, these feelings will have grown amongst all those of a dark blue persuasion. But, with six minutes left to play, the visitors found a way through.
Following a wonderful run and shot from Aymeric Laporte, João Virgínia tipped the ball onto the crossbar, only for it to fall kindly onto the head of İlkay Gündoğan, who nodded home to essentially secure City’s passage to Wembley. It was an unfortunate, cruel way to concede and was particularly harsh on Virgínia, who had exhibited real maturity in his first start between the Goodison Park posts.
Pep Guardiola’s side put the game to bed a few moments later. With Everton pushing high, City threaded the ball through to substitute Kevin de Bruyne, who smashed the ball past Virgínia with relative ease. It was a goal that epitomised the sheer ruthlessness of this City side and how devastating they are when presented with any sight of goal.
Truth be told, this was the best Everton could have hoped for. City are a world class side and very few can compete with them, especially an Everton team lacking Doucouré’s engine and Rodríguez’s innovation. That being said, the death of another dream of silverware for the first time since 1995 still stings.
Full Time: Everton 0-2 Manchester City
James’ Everton Man of the Match: Allan