x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Everton force a Manchester City surrender in 2-0 defeat

Manchester City's fingertip hold on their Premier League title was loosened further after a demoralising defeat at Everton, who finished the game with 10 men after Steven Pienaar had been sent off.

Leon Osman, left, capped a memorable week personally by scoring a stunning goal against Manchester City at Goodison Park. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Leon Osman, left, capped a memorable week personally by scoring a stunning goal against Manchester City at Goodison Park. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

Manchester City's fingertip hold on their Premier League title was loosened further after a demoralising 2-0 defeat at Everton yesterday.

Leon Osman's swerving 32nd-minute shot put Everton in front at a raucous Goodison Park and, even though the home side were reduced to 10 men when Steven Pienaar was sent off for a rash tackle on the hour, City could not reply.

The substitute Nikica Jelavic sealed victory in stoppage time with the aid of a deflection on the counter-attack after being set up by Marouane Fellaini.

A week after being booed and heckled by their own fans in an embarrassing 3-0 FA Cup defeat at home to struggling Wigan Athletic, Everton produced a gutsy performance to remain in contention for a top-four finish.

"It was disappointing last week [in their defeat by Wigan] but we showed when we are at the races we are a match for any team," Osman, who is in the England squad for next week's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, told Sky Sports.

"It's difficult to play with 10 against any team, especially the champions, but we kept them at bay."

Osman's strike to break the deadlock was a special one.

Receiving the ball from Seamus Coleman 25 metres from goal, Osman lashed a shot that flew past the stranded England goalkeeper Joe Hart and bulged the netting.

Carlos Tevez went close to an equaliser with a shot that went just wide but City were missing the drive of Yaya Toure in midfield as Everton dominated proceedings.

City showed more desire after the break and were pressing hard for an equaliser when Pienaar raked his studs down the shin of Javi Garcia, who had earlier squandered a close-range chance.

The inevitable red card merely raised Everton to greater efforts, with their second-choice goalkeeper Jan Mucha exemplifying their commitment with a great double save from Tevez and James Milner.

City were denied a late penalty when Tevez's shot was clearly blocked by the arm of Fellaini in the penalty area, with the referee ruling it had been outside the box and awarding only a free kick, which came to nothing.

Jelavic's stoppage-time effort made it a dark day for the City manager Roberto Mancini, who declined to give his post-match television interview, instead sending out his assistant David Platt.

"He's angry and he's taking stock of it," Platt said.

"He wants to calm down rather than say anything that will get him into trouble. He's angry in general.

"We got outworked by Everton, but there is no doubt in my mind about the handball. It was three yards inside the area and though perhaps the performance didn't deserve it, that's by the by.

"Perhaps we could have got a bit more out of it if that decision had gone for us."

Yesterday's win was just the tonic for Everton right-back Coleman, who told Sky Sports 2: "It's what we aimed to do. Ultimately, it was disappointing to go out of the FA Cup.

"We went out there and tried to repay the fans as much we could and I think we did that.

"Winning games is what it's all about and it's never nice to lose games, especially when we thought we could do well in the FA Cup this year.

"But we still have a lot to play for in the league and we showed it there today.

"That wasn't the Everton team last week, we just didn't turn up.

"Going down to 10 men we just worked as hard as we could. We're all mates here and I think that showed."

* Agencies

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