Everton hold the advantage in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City after Romelu Lukaku’s 19th goal of the season gave them victory at Goodison Park.
City looked to have secured a draw with 14 minutes left, when Jesus Navas finished a sweeping counter-attack following brilliant work by Sergio Aguero.
That equaliser cancelled out Ramiro Funes Mori’s opener for Everton on the stroke of half-time.
Argentine Funes Mori pounced after Willy Caballero saved Ross Barkley’s shot – although City were nursing an understandable sense of injustice with Lukaku standing in an offside position in front of the keeper.
Everton refused to be sunk by Navas’s sucker punch and responded within two minutes, Lukaku heading in his 12th goal in 12 games from Gareth Barry’s perfect cross.
Ramiro Funes Mori
Manchester City have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 matches in all competitions
Man City’s rough luck?
Everton had efforts from John Stones and Lukaku rightly ruled out for offside – and it looked like a case of third time lucky for Martinez’s team when Funes Mori struck just before half-time.
Caballero did well to block Barkley’s shot, even though the giant figure of Lukaku was clearly standing offside, and appeared to be in the City keeper’s line of vision.
Lukaku did not touch the ball, and did not appear to make a movement towards it, so the debate centred on whether he was interfering with an opponent by obstructing Caballero’s view.
Referee Robert Madley waved away City’s protests and Everton grasped at their good fortune – but the visitors had every right to feel they were hard done by.
That was not the only frustration for City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who felt his side had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Navas went down under a Kevin Mirallas challenge.
“Everton’s first goal was absolutely offside and it was a clear penalty when Jesus Navas was fouled,” Pellegrini said. “I didn’t speak to the referee after the game – they were both clear.
“To lose 2-1 is a bad result but it just means we have to win 1-0 at home. I still think we are able to play in the Capital One Cup final.”