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Everton beat Man United, reach FA Cup final
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[Image: evertond.jpg]

LONDON: Everton will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final after David Moyes' side secured a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United following a goalless draw at Wembley on Sunday.

Tim Howard, Everton's former United keeper, was the hero as he saved from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand, allowing defender Phil Jagielka to strike the decisive spot-kick.

That took Everton to their first final since 1995 and ended United's hopes of completing a clean sweep of honours.

"It was a tough game for us," Moyes said. "If they put out their under-14s it would have been a tough game - they are going after every trophy.

"For everyone at Everton it is fantastic. If they keep doing what they are doing now, success will not be too far away."

It was the first time Sir Alex Ferguson had experienced defeat at this stage of the competition, but the United manager was furious his side had been denied a second half penalty appeal when Jagielka clipped Danny Welbeck.

After winning the League Cup and Club World Cup already this season, United now have to focus on retaining the Premier League and Champions League trophies they won last year.

Ferguson had sprung a major surprise by fielding a side packed with youngsters and fringe players in advance of Wednesday's league clash with Portsmouth.

Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs were among those missing, and without their big names United looked a shadow of their usual selves.

Carlos Tevez accepted the responsibility of co-ordinating his inexperienced teenage strike-partners Federico Macheda and Welbeck and orchestrated a series of neat passing moves around the edge of the Everton area.

But without Rooney and Ronaldo, United were desperately short of a cutting edge and Everton keeper Tim Howard remained largely untroubled during the opening 45 minutes.

In fact United came closest to scoring when Howard was wrong-footed when team-mate Joleon Lescott deflected Park Ji-Sung's right win cross and both defender and keeper were relieved to see the ball drift narrowly wide of the near post.

Whether Everton were boosted or insulted by the sight of the United team-sheet, they initially showed few signs of being able to exploit their weakened opponents.

Despite boasting an overwhelming advantage in terms of first-team experience, it was David Moyes' side who looked inhibited on the big stage, although a line-up that left lone striker Louis Saha painfully short of support did nothing to encourage their ambition.

Marouane Fellaini attempted to get close to Saha but the Belgian's aerial threat was nullified by Nemanja Vidic and Everton's only half chance of the first half came when United keeper Ben Foster scuffed a clearance.

It was clear Everton needed to inject more purpose and self-belief into their attacking movements.

And that is exactly what they did after the restart when they pressed United onto the back-foot and finally brought a meaningful save from Foster when Tim Cahill let fly from 30 yards in the 54th minute.

But instead of building on that momentum, Moyes's side again found themselves overrun as United took charge with Park and Darron Gibson both coming close with well-worked shots.

There best opening, though, was denied by referee Mike Riley who adjudged there had been no infringement when Jagielka appeared to trip Welbeck after the United striker had latched onto a loose ball and rounded Howard.

United were adamant it should have been a penalty - and Ferguson remonstrated angrily from the touch-line. It's likely he would have been even more furious had he known his side would struggle to make another chance of note before the tie drifted into extra-time.

Penalties always looked the most likely outcome once the extra half hour had been signaled, although Everton substitute James Vaughan wasted a good opening when he directed a shot straight at Vidic.

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