Monday 24 October 2016

Deulofeu puts on a Toffees masterclass

Gerard Duelofeu
Gerard Duelofeu

Gerard Duelofeu turned in a master-class to send Everton into the Capital One Cup semi-finals and fulfil Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka's prophecy.

Spaniard Karanka worked with compatriot Deulofeu as a 14-year-old during his time as a national youth coach, and tipped him for the top all those years ago.

And he found himself on the receiving end at the Riverside as the midfielder opened the scoring with a stunning solo effort and then provided the ammunition for Romelu Lukaku to head the visitors into a 2-0 lead with just 28 minutes gone.

Roberto Martinez's men can now put up their feet briefly ahead of Monday night's Barclays Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, while Boro must dust themselves down for a tricky trip to Ipswich on Friday evening.

From the off, they kept the ball moving, working to drag Boro out of position and create the gaps from which the likes of Lukaku and Deulofeu could wreak havoc.

The Championship promotion hopefuls might have taken the lead with keeper Joel Robles turning away Stewart Downing's 17th-minute free-kick before being bundled into the net along with the ball to the sound of the referee's whistle from the resulting corner.

But the tie was effectively settled inside eight minutes as top-flight class was made to tell. Boro simply could not get anywhere near Deulofeu as he set off from the centre circle and skipped past every approaching red shirt with the minimum of fuss before steering a right-foot shot past goalkeeper Tomas Mejias and into the bottom corner.

The Spaniard turned provider eight minutes later, accepting Ross Barkley's raking pass and bamboozling emergency left-back Fernando Amorebieta before delivering the perfect cross for Lukaku to glance a header wide of Mejias and in off the post.

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