Belfast Telegraph

Late penalty makes Lisbon trip a much tougher ask

Everton 2 Sporting Lisbon 1

Everton manager David Moyes expects to be without key midfielder Marouane Fellaini for the rest of the season and to add to his frustration their Europa League hopes are hanging in the balance.

Moyes' side seemed to shrug off the loss of Fellaini, who needs ankle surgery, by racing into a two-goal lead against Sporting Lisbon, thanks to Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin.

However the game took a dramatic twist with four minutes remaining when Miguel Veloso scored from the spot in this round of 32 first leg match.

The penalty kick was awarded at Goodison Park after Distin had floored Liedson as he tried to surge forward, and the defender was sent off in the process.

It means Everton now face a difficult return match in Portugal a week on Thursday after looking so comfortable for so long.

Fellaini will again be looking on from the sidelines after being hurt following a crunching tackle with Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who was sent off in the derby.

Moyes said: “Fellaini is not good. He has an injury similar to Robin van Persie and that could keep out for six months. We will not be sure until the operation takes place.

“He has played really well this season and been part of the reason behind our improvement. He has been a big miss to us already.”

Moyes could not hide his disappointment at the way they let Sporting back into the tie.

Pienaar made the breakthrough in the 35th minute with a good finish after being set up by Tim Cahill, who came off with a calf injury.

Distin extended Everton's lead in the 49th minute after goalkeeper Rui Patricio flapped at Leighton Baines' corner.

Moyes said: “The perspective of the game changed. I thought we were more liable to win 3-0 than 2-1. We looked as though we were trying to conserve our energy rather than going for another goal.

“Sylvain had a difficult pass to deal with but we should never have put ourselves in that position. We should have been looking to get forward.

“We did enough to be 2-0 in front and I did not see a goal coming. But it was not to be. It keeps the game alive. That's football.

“We are disappointed we have not seen the job through, which we should have done. We gave Sporting an opportunity when it looked as though they might not have one.”

Sporting coach Carlos Carvalhal said: “Hopefully we can complete the job with the help of our marvellous supporters.

“I wish the game had gone on longer as we were making it difficult for Everton. Some of our football was almost perfect.

“I did not think we deserved to be behind at half -time and I have to dispute their second goal as there was a handball.”

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