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Spot-on Everton reach Asia Trophy final

Everton moved into the final of the Asia Trophy after beating Stoke City 5-4 in a penalty shootout in Wednesday’s semi-final.

Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the pre-season tournament, which is being staged at the Singapore National Stadium, with Stoke’s Peter Odemwingie and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku both missing great chances.

That meant spot-kicks were needed and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard saved debutant Marco van Ginkel’s effort, before captain Phil Jagielka confirmed Everton’s place in the final with a thumping penalty.  

Stoke, who handed a debut to Joselu, orchestrated the first clear-cut opening when youngster Oliver Shenton squared for Odemwingie from the left, only for the Nigerian to side-foot wide inside the penalty area.

Jagielka then made a superb recovery tackle to deny Marko Arnautovic from capitalising on Tony Hibbert’s error.

Everton had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of half-time when Lukaku rounded debut goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard and tapped home, only to be adjudged offside.

Stoke almost took the lead on the hour when Stephen Ireland’s near-post flick from Odemwingie’s cross drew a fine point-blank save from Howard, while at the other end Gerard Deulofeu shot tamely when on-one-on with Haugaard after combining well with Steven Naismith.

Lukaku wasted a clear-cut opportunity in the last minute when he stole the ball from Van Ginkel and scuffed a right-foot wide of the left-hand post.

Penalties were subsequently needed and Everton grasped the advantage when Van Ginkel shot down the middle and was denied by Howard.

No other player missed in the nine attempts, leaving it to Jagielka to seal the win and he rifled his spot-kick into the top right-hand corner.

Everton will now play either Arsenal or a Singapore Select XI in Saturday’s final.

Wed 15 Jul, 2015
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