Belfast Telegraph

Deulofeu shines to secure semi-final spot for Toffees

Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton

By Damien Spellman

Gerard Deulofeu turned in a masterclass 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 - and that is the way it finished.

Boro might have taken the lead with goalkeeper 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.

Cristhian Stuani forced Robles into a diving save with 10 minutes of the half remaining and Kike saw a delicately chipped effort drop just wide with the keeper beaten, but Everton left the pitch at the break knowing they had one foot in the last four.

Robles had to tip away Downing's stinging 59th-minute drive after Stuani's enterprising run and Boro saw appeals for a 64th-minute penalty for handball waved away after Emilio Nsue's ball into the box hit Brendan Galloway.

Stuani headed just over from Nsue's inviting cross when he really should have scored with 20 minutes remaining, but there was simply no way back for Karanka's side.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Mejias, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson (Friend 83), Amorebieta, Clayton (Adomah 73), Leadbitter, Stuani, Downing, De Pena (Forshaw 45), Kike.

Subs not used: Stephens, Agazzi, Nugent, Zuculini.

EVERTON: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway (Baines 73), Cleverley, Barry, Deulofeu (Mirallas 81), Barkley, Osman, Lukaku (Naismith 86).

Goals: Deulofeu 20, Lukaku 28

Subs not used: Gibson, Koné, Lennon, Howard.

Man of the match: Deulofeu

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Roger East

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