Everton 4 – AEK Athens 0By Liam White • Sep 18th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports, News |
Before I start I managed to forget my glasses last night, so I’m writing this report under the assumption that nothing happened in the Park End half of the pitch.
Moyes announced that our new Russian was going to start his first game, and after eagerly awaiting my first chance to see him properly, knowing he was a Russian my heart was saying Kanchelskis, but knowing he was a lanky left mid my head was saying Kilbane, but thankfully his debut was a very good one. Though all I could really see was a distant blur in blue, having a natural left sided player gave us some much needed balance, his range of passing was good and he showed some decent pace. But arguably the best part of his game last night was his set pieces. Even with Arteta on our free kicks they were always hit and miss, and whilst it may be jumping the gun a bit, Bilyaletdinov did seem to be a natural at set pieces, and we may have our first consistently good corner kick taker since Hinchcliffe.
This game had been seen by some as part of the race for 2nd in the group, and if that’s the case we’ve got nothing to fear about progessing. I’ve been privy to some pearls of wisdom from some Man City fans recently who informed me that we’d struggle after losing our goalscoring centreback, but after 17 minutes, after two centre back goals from Bilyaletdinov corners, we were looking comfortable.
Everton restricted Athens to some hit and hope shots, but it was Pienaar who scored the scorcher of the evening, hitting it in the corner from outside the box to send Everton into half time with a 3 goal lead.
At half time Cahill, on a yellow card, was replaced by Osman, but the wind was slightly taking out of our sails a few minutes into the half as Bilyaletdinov picked up a knock and was replaced by Yakubu making his first home appearance in almost a year. If Sunday was negative Moyes, Thursday was Moyes on acid, as he followed this substitution up with Saha replacing Pienaar, leaving us with 3 strikers on the pitch. Jo was the one who came in with the 4th goal late on rounding off a good display from the Brazillian.
Saha’s soft sending off slightly marred the end of the game, but it seems that we have set ourselves up for another strong European run, though our European pedigree and our chances of winning this competition will most likely be tested against Benfica next month.
But hopefully this will be the catalyst our season needs and will help us build some momentum going into Sunday’s game with Blackburn.