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Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Uefa Cup
 Thursday 6 March 2008; 7:45pm
Fiorentina 
2-0
 Everton
Kuzmanovic (65'), Montolivo (82')
Half Time: 0-0
  
Attendance: 32,934
Rnd of 16, L1
Referee: Paul Allaerts 

Match Summary

Mikel Arteta travelled to Italy with the Everton squad but David Moyes was uncertain if he would be fit for the game. It is something that we will have to assess on Thursday.

Everton were without James Vaughan, who had injured his knee again in training, but David Moyes named an unchanged side for the third consecutive time.  That means Mikel Arteta has to settle for a place amongst the substitutes upon his return to the squad following a spell receiving treatment for a stomach injury in Spain. Tony Hibbert continues at right-back, with Phil Neville and Lee Carsley providing protection for the back four against a Fiorentina side that is riding high in Serie A.

Andrew Johnson, who made a key impact as a substitute in the weekend victory over Portsmouth, also has to settle for a place on the bench as the manager sticks to a 4-4-1-1 formation. Yakubu will lead the attack, with Tim Cahill providing support from midfield.  For Fiorentina, Per Krldrup was named among the subs.

It was a cold and wet night in Florence as the match got going with rain and sleet swirling around the pitch.  Early exchanges saw Everton threaten and defend competently.  Howard snuffed out a good cross that had evaded Neville.  A scuffed shot from Vieri roused the home crowd a little inside the first 10 minutes.  Yakubu did superbly to dispossess Kuzmanovic and went at the Viola defence on his own, with Cahill scampering to support him... to no avail.

Fiorentina earned a free-kick but the delivery by Vieri was well wide of the target.  From a deep free-kick, Neville lofted the ball onto Lesott's head despite illegal attentions from Dainelli but Cahill could not follow-up and Fiorentina immediately counter-attacked down Everton's right.  Everton won another free-kick opportunity out on the right, that ended up with corner Osman fired in to Cahill's head but it was then cleared.  Everton had a chance to break but Lescott was ruled offside

Good play from Neville and Yobo set up Lescott in the Fiorentina area but the ref blew up for a push.  A dangerous cross from Kuzmanovic again needed bravery from Howard as Vieri came close to connecting with a header after 20 mins.  Another threatening move saw Jorgensen come in close for a header that was fortunately directed straight at Howard.

Pienaar started to get into it a little, winning a throw and Lescott got a magnificent cross over to the far post where Osman was threatening, winning a corner, but the delivery was shockingly poor, allowing the home side to scamper forward again.  That was stopped but again possession was surrendered cheaply and Everton were on the back foot again.

A typically robust English challenge by Carsley on Montolivo drew the expected response from Belgian Referee Paul Allerts, abut the delivery was deflected by the Everton wall, allowing Cahill darting after Dainelli, sliding in far too late and again drawing another free kick. 

Yakubu looked to get in on the keeper, and Frey cleverly charged at him, winning the free kick and a yellow card for Yakubu! Very unfair...  Of course, the keeper then proceeded to writhe in agony with the requisite severer back injury.... from which he recovered miraculously.

Ujfalusi and Pienaar got involved a little, the Italian getting Pienaar booked but also getting himself a caution with another bout of the predictable play-acting.  Vieri then got in an excellent shot forcing a tremendous save from Howard as the tempo of the game picked up as half-time approached.  A nice break from Everton, moving the ball forward well, but Cahill found himself way offside.

So far, a typical Everton performance, lots of spirit and desire but coming up short if you are looking at retaining possession and making creative use of the ball.  Plenty of solid and competent defending though just what was needed to keep the 0-0 scoreline at the break. 

After early corners for both sides in the second half, Yakubu set up Osman after 8 mins of the second half, chasing the ball into the corner and then clipping it across but his attempt was blocked.  More play-acting and face-clutching ensued as Dainelli complained about unfair advantage. 

A rather surprising early change though after just 10 mins, Arteta on for Osman.  A goof free-kick from Arteta forced the keeper Frey to punch and Everton had a second bite of the cherry.  But the quick break, yet again, saw two fantastic saves from Howard as Everton waited for the Offside decision, one from Vieri and another from Kuzmanovic.  But then he was stupidly booked for time-wasting!!!

Cahill produced another wonderful overhead kick and got the ball in the net but he was a mile offside.  Vieri went off, to be replaced by Pazzini, while Arteta looked to get more involved with the game.  The second-half game was a bit more lively that the first, but Everton still searching to find that extra step up that would give them the advantage...

But instead it was Kuzmanovic who, from 25 yards out, fired low and hard, beyond Tim Howard and into the corner of the net, just as the pace had been upped by the hosts with 20 mins to go.  Undeterred by the flares and the mayhem, Arteta worked a good opening for Cahill but his header was weak. On came Johnson for Hibbert, the one being sacrificed as Everton switched to 4-4-2, and the usual last-ditch fight to salvage something from this one.  Osvaldo was subbed by Santana.

Everton looked pretty ragged as the game wore on, with horrible passes from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta putting themselves under unnecessary pressure as they searched for some coherence that would bring that vital away goal. But instead it was Montolivo who had the time and the space as an excellent ball came in from the side to drill a massive second goal past the despairing Tim Howard: 2-0!! Eeek!!! 

Everton had to re-group again after this massive disappointment, as the initiative swung firmly into Fiorentina's favour, with little if anything going right for Everton.  Lescott forced a determined run down the right but the cross was too long ion coming, with only midget Johnson in the box to aim at.  A good-looking opportunity faded away.... 

Yakubu and Cahill tried to break but were dispossessed and Santana was soon through on goal looking ready to add a third, his shot curling wide of the post after Pienaar let a man overlap while the other defenders waited for offside that was never given... shockingly poor defending!

Into four minutes of added time, it was vital that Everton not slip with any more silly mistakes.  Gobbi went in the book.  But Everton's game perhaps was summed up by the free-kick, delivered directly into the hands of goalkeeper Frey.

So... 2-0 and a rather substantial mountain to climb next week at Goodison.  Everton if anything let themselves down by the old thorns of poor passing and giving away possession cheaply.  Too many bad balls; as simple as that. We all know you can't get far in Europe without being punished for such basic errors. 

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

The quarter finals of a marathon Uefa Cup beckon Everton as they travel to Florence for their sternest test of the competition so far. The Blues have already played eight matches to get as far as the Round of 16 and they'll need to play another six in order to get to the Final at the City of Manchester Stadium.

David Moyes and his side won't be complaining, though, seeing as they have settled into a groove of consistency since the turn of the year and have won over many media pundits who now believe that Everton have what it takes to go all the way.

That belief is based on the Blues' peerless record in this season's Uefa Cup — Bordeaux were the only the club to qualify from the group stages with a 100% record and they were edged out by Anderlecht in the last round — their 8-1 aggregate demolition of SK Brann in the Round of 32, and a domestic league record over the past eight matches that is bettered only by Chelsea.

Fiorentina, however, who moved into third place in Serie A over the weekend with a stunning 3-2 victory at Juventus, are the kind of opposition that makes playing in European competition attractive in the first place. Mixing it up with great sides from countries like Italy, France and Spain is what it's all about and, on paper at least, La Viola will be the Blues's biggest test since the Champions League qualifier against Villarreal in 2005.

Injuries, specifically to Mikel Arteta, and perhaps, to a lesser extent, the calibre of the opposition may have prompted Moyes to go with a 4-4-2 line-up in Bergen last month but this time around he is almost certain to opt for Yakubu at the head of a 4-1-4-1 formation. It was highly successful against Manchester City last week — granted, it took a shift to two strikers up front to see off Portsmouth at the weekend — and with the team's remit surely to be to keep it tight at the Stadio Artemi Franchi on Thursday, a five-man midfield will be the way to go.

Apart from Joseph Yobo walking a disciplinary tightrope — one more yellow card will result in a match ban — the biggest selection question surrounds Mikel Arteta and whether he will be fit enough to resume his playmaker role in midfield. The Spaniard has missed three of the last four games with niggling groin and stomach complaints but Phil Neville's form in midfield in each of the last two games will increase Moyes's confidence in retaining him alongside Lee Carsley and handing creative responsibilities to Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar. (Neville's European experience will likely trump the flair offered by Manuel Fernandes who is also a booking away from a one-match Uefa Cup ban.)

If Arteta is fit, though, Neville could drop back to right back to make room. James Vaughan is definitely ruled out, though, after injuring his knee in training this week. The 19 year-old will undergo a scan but is expected to be out for a month.


Steven Pienaar: has no problem shouldering the creative burden

Everton's first visit to Italian soil for a European cup tie since taking on AC Milan 33 years ago should be a cracking game and it will reunite Per Kroldrup with the club for whom he made just one appearance before moving back to Italy two years ago.

But Fiorentina will be without their chief danger man, Adrian Mutu. The former Chelsea striker damaged knee ligaments last week and will be sidelined for a month. Additionally, Cesare Prandelli's side have not kept a clean sheet at home in European competition since 2001.

That can only work in Everton's favour as they look to move into the last eight, one step closer to going to City twice and a crack at winning their second European trophy and their first silverware for 13 years.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

Everton go into their 58th European match against Fiorentina on Thursday looking to extend their current European run of 7 winning matches, or at least extending the current run of 9 unbeaten matches in Europe.
Everton's record in Europe:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

European Cup

10

2

5

3

14

10

Cup Winners’ Cup

17

11

4

2

25

9

Uefa Cup

18

11

2

5

35

17

Fairs Cup

12

7

2

3

22

15

TOTALS:

57

31

13

13

96

51

Our away record in Europe:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

European Cup

5

1

2

2

5

4

Cup Winners’ Cup

8

3

3

2

6

5

Uefa Cup

9

5

0

4

16

12

Fairs Cup

6

2

2

2

9

9

TOTALS:

28

11

7

10

36

30

The last European match was the 6-1 win over SK Brann at Goodison Park, which earned Everton a tie against Fiorentina.
As well as recording our record winning margin in Europe (5 goals) in the last match, Everton also recorded their highest number of goals scored in a European match, as well as the highest number of goals scored and highest winning margin in a match televised live on British television, as well as seeing the first ever Everton hat trick in a live match, thanks to Yakubu’s 3 goals.

The last away match in Europe was the 2-0 first leg win against SK Brann.

This will be the 5th match Everton have played against Italian opposition in Europe, which sees the club still trying to obtain their first win against Italian opposition.  The fist two matches was the European Cup tie against Inter Milan in 1963, with the Italians winning 1-0 in the second leg, following a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park.  This was exactly the same situation 12 years later when Everton played AC Milan in the Uefa Cup.

This will be Everton’s 18th match on 6 March:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

0

0

2

0

2

Division One

11

3

2

6

17

22

Division Two

1

1

0

0

2

0

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

7

0

Cup Winners’ Cup

1

1

0

0

3

0

TOTALS:

17

7

2

8

29

24

The last match on this date was a 0:1 defeat at Goodison Park against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.
Whilst Everton have lost 4 of the last 5 League matches played on this date, they have won all 3 Cup matches played on 6 March.

The first was a 2:0 win at Bradford City the the 1915 FA Cup Quarter final with the goals coming from Sam Chedgzoy and Joe Clennell.

56 years later, in 1971, Everton won another FA Cup Quarter final on this date, beating Colchester United 5:0 at Goodison Park, with the goals coming from Howard Kendall (with 2), Jimmy Husband, Joe Royle and Alan Ball.  This was also the last time Everton wore their away strip in a first class match at Goodison Park.

The final Cup game on this date, and the only European match played on this date, was  3:0 win over Fortuna Sittard in the first leg of the European Cup Winners’ Cup Quarter final in 1985, with Everton’s goals coming from an Andy Gray hat trick.

Milestones that can be reached this game:

    • If he scores a hat trick, then Yakubu will become the seventh Everton player to score at least 3 first class hat tricks in a single season for the club.  The other six are Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean (who achieved the feat in 5 separate seasons, including the club record of 8 hat tricks in a single season in 1931-32), Bobby Parker, Bert Freeman, Tommy Lawton, John Willie Parker, and the last player to achieve this feat back in the 1985-86 season, Gary Lineker.  He will also be the only Everton player to score 2 European hat tricks for the club.

Steve Flanagan

Match Report

May appear here later

Author

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FIORENTINA (4-3-3)
  Frey
  Dainelli
  Ujfalusi :41'
  Gamberini
  Pasqual
  Kuzmanovic (68' Gobbi :90')
  Donadel
  Montolivo
  Jorgensen
  Vieri (61' Pazzini)
  Osvaldo (67' Santana)
  Subs not used
  Potenza
  Krldrup
  Massimo
  Cacia

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard :58' 
  Hibbert (66' Johnson)
  Jagielka
  Yobo
  Lescott
  Neville {c}
  Carsley
  Pienaar :41
  Osman (56' Arteta)
  Cahill
  Yakubu :38' 
  Subs not used
  Wessels
  Baines
  Gosling
  Gravesen (injured?)
  Anichebe
  Unavailable
  Fernandes (injured/suspended)
  Valente (injured)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Gardner (cup-tied)
  Kissock (loan)
  Ruddy (loan)
  Vidarsson (loan)
  Spencer (loan)
  Boyle (loan)

Uefa Cup Scores
Thursday 6 March 2008
Anderlecht 0-5 Bay. Munich
Leverkusen 1-0 Hamburg
Benfica 1-2 Getafe
Bolton 1-1 Sporting
Fiorentina 2-0 Everton
Marseilles 3-1 Zenit
Rangers 2-0 W Bremen
Tottenham 0-1 PSV

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