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A night to cherish!

By Santosh Benjamin :  21/02/2008 :  Comments (26) :
I have to admit that I'm very jealous of all those who made it to Goodison for the 2nd leg tonight... coz it was without a doubt a splendid performance by the team. I live in India and these games are only accessible to me via the internet where I follow the scores on Soccernet/Football 365... it's not much fun... unless of course we win 6-1.

I was hoping to see Vaughan in the starting line-up alongside the Yak but saw that Moyes went with AJ and the Yak instead. Wondering if Yobo is ok as he was not even on the bench. Valente preferred to Baines probably coz of match fitness and European football experience. I was surprised that Ossie was left out too.

Brann started better and enjoyed better possession and chances in the early part of the game and I was getting a bit nervous. The Yak then started the scoring apparently after a nice pass from Cahill. Soon. we were to double our lead as AJ fired a shot from the edge of the box... we went into the break with an almost unassailable lead (never say never with EFC!)

Moyes made changes as the 2nd half started with Hibbo and Manny coming on for Cars and Cahill... I was hoping to see Vaughan on instead. We started well with AJ hitting the post in the first minute with the keeper beaten.

Lescott among others had shots on goal before Pienaar (welcome back!) set-up the Yak for his second goal. Brann got a goal back after a Howard error... he misjudged the bounce from a long-range effort from Moen(lucky we were already coasting!).

Brann seemed to awaken again after that and Helstad had a few chances. The Yak then completed his hat-trick after tapping in from close range and was almost immediately taken off and Vic, the Euro super sub came on (I guess Vaughany has to bide his time...).

Vic had a couple of good shots on goal and Pienaar almost joined the party with some shots including one off the woodwork... and just as we thought we were done... AJ finished off proceeding with a great long-range goal!

I can just imagine those of you who made it to the game and experienced this historic night. I agree that they were not the best team in the competition but they still had to be beaten and we did that in style. Spurs and Bolton got through to the round of 16 too after nervy games... happy for Bolton although I dont feel the same about the Spurs result.

Fiorentina next up for us as we prepare to meet our first Italian team of the campaign. Should be a great tie and I anticipate more Goodison history. Seven wins on the trot in Europe is a club record and morale is high too as we get back to the all important Premier League with our close rivals City and Pompey in the next 2 games which will go a long way to shaping the rest of our season.

Lets hope we can keep up the great football. I think that the Yak would be the MOM for me but i also think that AJ did very well tonight too... having Pienaar and Arteta back made all the difference and if they both stay fit the sky is the limit for us. Onwards and upwards... COYB!

Reader Comments

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Andy Hughes
1   Posted 22/02/2008 at 07:14:49

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Fiorentina are currently 4th in the Serie A table but something tells me we’ll have them! Is it blind optimism? I dont know...
Should we get there, I really DO hope we get Bayern Munich in the QF or SF - would be great to re-live that famous tie from 1985...
Santosh Benjamin
2   Posted 22/02/2008 at 07:21:50

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Sorry...i forgot to add the deflected goal that Arteta scored...
Michael Brien
3   Posted 22/02/2008 at 07:23:51

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There’s no doubt that Fiorentina will be very tough - I think any Italian team will be a hard game- the Italian sides have a very long tradtion of sucess in European Competitions. But we can do it - it’s great having a decent run in a European Competition - it’s something we need to aim to have more of. I don’t know if we will win the UEFA Cup this season - but I think David Moyes and the team are capable of establishing Everton as a force in Europe.
I think this would have happened with the team of 1985 - they could have gone on to acheive more success in Europe.They didn’t get the chance to do that - but now we are back - it’s been a long wait - but it would be great to see Everton do well in Europe - we can do it !!!!
peter bourke
4   Posted 22/02/2008 at 07:55:15

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I have watched some highlights of Fio and they haven’t looked that impressive. I know when we play them our 6-1 win will stand for nothing but looking at the highlights our touch has been crisper and we seem to be playing at a faster pace than what i have seen in highlights.
Ill settle for an away draw and finish them off at Goodison.
Ed Casey
5   Posted 22/02/2008 at 09:03:33

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What a win! I can’t say which was my favourite goal - I think Yak putting two defenders on their arses for his second or AJs second are the standouts but they were all quality (even the way Yak took his third was a joy to watch).
I think we need to by a bit tighter defensively but if we get any kind of result in Italy the tie is ours for the taking.
Looking forward to it - lets hope we can beat City on the weekend to keep hold of 4th!
Steve Templeton
6   Posted 22/02/2008 at 09:07:09

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Fiorentina are live on channel five this Sunday away at Roma so we will all get a chance to have a look at them and see what we are up against .
Kev Clark
7   Posted 22/02/2008 at 09:12:56

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Went the match and taped it, watched it as soon as I got home!

Santosh - Official reason for Yobo?s absense was given as "he?s 1 yellow away from a ban and suffering a slight head cold so we decided not to risk him" Moyes Channel 5 interview before the match.

Brave decision but shows the strength we have at the back when you can happily leave out someone of his quality and still have such a solid back line. I?m sure he?ll be back in the match squad for City.
Brian Williams
8   Posted 22/02/2008 at 09:26:06

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I’m gonna stick my neck out here and p*** on a few people’s chips....Despite the fact that 6-1 is undoubtedly a great result am I the only one who, although ecstatic at the scoreline, saw a few worrying things and believes that overall it wasn’t a "great" performance? In a way it can be looked upon as a good "we won 6-1 while not playing particularly briliant"...but I was still left with some nagging doubts. Am I the only one that believes if we play like we played for the first 30 minutes in the next round we’ll be out?
It was weird because I actually think our defense, at times, looked a hell of a lot more uneasy than they’ve looked in the permiership against much better oppostion. (Go figure).
Maybe I’m being TOO picky and should just enjoy the result...but I’ve a feeling there’ll be one or two things David Moyes will want to work on...not least (and here’s one for discussion) Manny’s apparent "attitiude". He seemed out of sorts to me and was playing with a snarl on his face and not the smile of someone enjoying their footy. He seemed distracted and ill at ease at times.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not being a moaning doom mongerer. I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground and avoid getting totally carried away. COYB.
Dan Johnson
9   Posted 22/02/2008 at 09:38:29

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Brian Williams I agree 100% the defending at times last night was laughable. I think the problem is Lescott, I?m in no doubt now that Yobo is a better central defender than Lescott. Joleon wants to get forward too much, so I think Lescott should become our permanent rightback with Yobo/Jag in the middle.
Stuart Downey
10   Posted 22/02/2008 at 10:00:55

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I’ll going to agree a little with Brian (Williams) first.

Howard was fine in goal, blame the goal conceded on an unlucky bounce, plus was it deflected?

Valente - fine.

Hibbert - He was fine in defence, indeed making some fine tackles, but going forward his distribution is poor.

Neville - Our captain, and other right back, isn’t as good as Hibbo defensively in my opinion, and sometimes is worse going forward! However, as a leader in the team, he is brilliant (again, in my opinion). He’s won it all before.

Lescott and Jags were fine.

Fernandes - talked himself into yet another yellow card. The only player to do this at goodison this season, and he’s done it 3 times now. His passing was a lot better last night though, hopefully fitness is improving.

Arteta got a lot more space last night too, though I didn’t think he played that well. Shot looked off target apart from a heavy deflection.

Pienaar was very good, quick, good touches, nice to have him back.

Cahill & Carsley - dont think either of them were playing well, dont think carsley is particularly suited to that pace of football, and cahill is off form.

YAK - money buys class.

AJ - makes yak space, exploited the defence, hope its boosted his confidence, because i think its just confidence he’s been lacking, he’s a good player.

Overall - First half, an average premiership performance - second half - an attacking open performance. (Think its because we have a full squad available?)

I think its good that there are areas which obviously need improvement, because if there weren’t how would we ever move forward. Just look across Stanley park, they’ve already got the team to win every cup... Realism is good
John Lloyd
11   Posted 22/02/2008 at 10:34:43

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I have weighed it up & decided that the sloppyness mentioned by Brain (rightfully btw) may of been down to quality of oppo & taking some little things for granted.

But again with the hibbo debate, Stuart Downey falls into the trap of saying he was fine in defence?? How was he, he made a hard sliding challenge not long after he came on but was then beaten 4 out the next 5 times by the man he was marking!! As I’ve said soemwhere else on site, once the crowd starts openly laughing at you like they did last night then your days are usually numbered.

Overall, made up with win, good confidence boost for city game which is absolutly MASSIVE for our season.
peter bourke
12   Posted 22/02/2008 at 10:30:46

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I think you guys are being a bit harsh.
The first 30 minutes or so was consolodation of our advantage. Once the danger had passed we flexed our muscle and end of story.
"Cahill is off form". WAKE UP. What game were you watching. FFS what do some players have to do before they get the recognition they deserve.
You gave no credible reasons to support a "Worrying Signs" statement put forward by B.Williams. They scored a lucky goal and conceded 6. The pride of Norway.
The only worry for me is that players the calibre of Yobo didn’t even get to sit on the bench.
Wake Up you 2 and smell the roses.
Steve Templeton
13   Posted 22/02/2008 at 11:32:45

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I have to ask if you were watching the same game as me last night as I thought Neville was outstanding going forward, especially in the first half when we were not playing particularly well.

I know it’s fashionable to knock Neville nowdays but I wish people would open their eyes and use their own judgement rather than jumping on the bandwagon and slagging players off because everyone else does.

For all of his faults, Neville is one of the most attack minded full backs in the league and consistently gets down the line supporting Arteta, he may be poor in possession at time but you cannot say he is poor going forward!
Andy Burke
14   Posted 22/02/2008 at 11:11:54

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Brian - Come on, get it together! I am a pessimist but your comments take the biscuit.

Whist I agree that our performance in the first 30 mins was not the best, when the goals start pouring in, what team does not get a bit relaxed and make a few errors that they would not normally make.

Obviously if we were 2 goals up against better opposition it would have been a different game and the players would have responded differently.

In my mind, the defense felt comfortable and therefore switched off just a little. With an 8-1 scoreline surely even you would not begrudge them that.

In my mind, even against top opposition we

Brian Williams
15   Posted 22/02/2008 at 12:04:59

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Andy (Burke)..I’m far from a pessimist mate, honestly. More a realist I’d say, and I DID say I was ecstatic with the scoreline.
I just feel that we’ll have to perform "better" from now on becasue the difference in class between what we’ve beaten and what we’ll meet in the last 16 (and hopefully right up to the final) will be immense.
I’ll concede that maybe there were times when the team may have "relaxed" due to the score, the opposition etc etc...
But I still stand by the points I made.
Don’t get me wrong the progress we’ve made is amazing, but the hardest to make is the last 10% that’ll be required..and there’s still room for improvement.
Peter Roberts
16   Posted 22/02/2008 at 12:29:36

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I was sat behind the goal in the Park End, and had the net not been there the Brann free kickl was headed straight for my face. If Jags had stuck his boot through the ball it would have been a different story but he for some odd reason left it and Howard was stranded as a result.

It was a good performance considering we never really got out of 3rd gear. Now that most of our players back we will really give Fiorentina some food for thought. Roll on City - big game, that.
Greg Doyle
17   Posted 22/02/2008 at 12:45:05

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Did anybody else think Fernandes was poor last night? I don?t think we should keep him. Yes he has flashes of brilliance, but he is very inconsistent and has already shown he is a mercinary.
Alan Willo
18   Posted 22/02/2008 at 13:16:04

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I agree with main article, excellent result but at times very sloppy. We give the ball away too many times and when we play a better team we will be punished. I think the 5 in the middle suits EFC better, AJ full of energy but so was Beattie!! We need to make the move up a class and its clear we are not ready yet but far closer than we have been before. Hibbert is mid table if not Championship player and its obvious when he comes on, Neville good but best years behind him AJ need to score more and be able to change a game, a bit like he did last season but so far this term he has taken on the James Beattie role of chasing down defenders rather than running behind them. Manny need to show as much commitment as Pinear does and both have good ability with age on their side. COYB just step up a bit and believe we can do it then the 4 th spot is ours and we can look at the top 3 as the next challenge. EFC !
Tony Williams
19   Posted 22/02/2008 at 13:34:59

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Fook me, we Evertonians are a bunch of miserable bastards. We have just trounced the reigning Norweigan Champs 6-1, yet people are still picking out point on how this person did this thing wrong or a sloppy pass here and there and how we "must play better".

Take each game on its own merit and lets be honest if you were 3/4-1 up I wouldn;t expect everyone to be concentrating as hard as if it was a close game so of course people will try to be cocky, I mean for fooks sake Hibbo skinned someone.

Lighten up for a day and enjoy the win and then begin the critique of the game.
John Lloyd
20   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:03:02

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Harsh comparing AJ to Beattie in any form, never mind harsh its wrong....
Neil McKinney
21   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:42:26

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I was elated at the result last night and I thought that, in patches, we played some excellent football. Both strikers got in the goals, fluid passing, cracking strikes and a comprehensive 8-1 aggregate win!

I agree with Brian about there being some points to work on though, there always is! There were things to work on from the Sunderland game and we put 7 past them. I think the players are starting to believe in there own ability now and shake of the inferiority complex. I thought Brian was fair in his assessment and not overly negative. The result was great, the performance good, but you can bet your life that Moyes is currently scrutinising the video and picking out things to work on in training.

Bring on the Italians, we fear nobody!

Lue Glover
22   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:31:22

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I agree Tony Willliams, we’re such a hard bunch to please and yes there were one or two who perhaps were’nt as sparkling as others. So, why not just enjoy the moment and leave the nit picking for tomorrow!
Favourite moment? Guy a few rows back when we’re 5 goals up
’ come on, bring on Foreign tuna’.

We all knew what he meant but it was hilarious!
Tony Williams
23   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:12:51

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I enjoyed the moment when it was still 0-0 and the Brann crowd started singing, "You only sing when your winning"

Had me in stiches
Pete Gunby
24   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:11:24

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Great result against a poor team. It’s fantastic that we now have a team that is giving Moyes selection problems due to quality. Being able to leave Yobo, Osman,Anichebe, Baines and Vaughn out shows how far we have come. Last nights game was good for confidence and will hopefully kick A.J. up a notch. In my opinion only Manny and Neville were poor. Manny got caught too many times and PN, once again, showed his uncanny ability to pick out an opponent with almost every pass he tried. Has anybody ever checked to see if he is colour blind? If not, I’m out of ideas. For my negtative Neville comments I’ll probably get berated and some will point out what a tremendous leader he is. Well, Churchill was a decent leader and I wouldn’t want him on the field either. COYB
Rob Jones
25   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:45:00

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Andy H Ill tell you why you’re optimistic mate, They’re fourth in a league with forever dying standards whereas we are 4th in the worlds best league. COYB!!!
Phil Roberts
26   Posted 23/02/2008 at 11:53:52

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RE: AJ?s One-on-One at the start of the second half.

The Goalie saved it!

If you look at the replay on the TV, the spin of the ball changes as it goes past the goalies knee.

So the goalie got the faintest of touches and deflected it onto the post.

Don?t believe me? Look at the slo-mo

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