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Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic struck as 10-man Everton delivered a big blow to Manchester City's title hopes. Everton spent the week soul-searching after their home defeat by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals but they looked back to their best in a fiery Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park.
Kevin Mirallas had a goal disallowed before Osman scored from long range after 32 minutes and the Toffees held on despite the dismissal of Steven Pienaar and made sure through Jelavic in injury time.
Everton's back-up goalkeeper Jan Mucha, continuing to deputise for the injured Tim Howard, produced instinctive saves from James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta as City battled to keep their slim title chances alive.
The result meant Everton manager David Moyes could after all mark the 11th anniversary of his appointment with some satisfaction. It was a sixth win in eight meetings for the Merseysiders against City, whose prospects were hit before kick-off when Yaya Toure was ruled out after suffering a migraine. Javi Garcia took the Ivorian's place.
All the urgency came from Everton as they demonstrated a hunger and desire they failed to show last week. Fellaini made a crunching challenge on Milner that earned him a 10th booking of the season and a two-match suspension.
City were slow to respond and thought they had been punished in the 13th minute when Mirallas lashed the ball into the net after Osman returned a clearance into the visitors' box. Much to City's relief, a flag had been raised for offside.
City started to stir with some neat moves leading to a couple of chances for Edin Dzeko and one for Tevez but Mucha was not seriously tested. Everton were frustrated not to get a free-kick when Sylvain Distin was knocked over by Gareth Barry in a challenge and the City midfielder was caught soon after by Pienaar, who earned his first yellow.
Aleksandar Kolarov was the next to be booked after up-ending Osman, whose next significant contribution was to fire the Toffees ahead. The midfielder, whose form earned another England call-up this week, took a square ball from Seamus Coleman 25 yards out and struck a first-time left-foot shot that swerved viciously away from Joe Hart.
Fellaini appealed in vain for a penalty after tangling with Matija Nastasic in the area and Victor Anichebe fired over as Everton continued to force the pace. Tevez found room and flashed a shot across goal as City served warning of their talent but the visitors remained second best. They were stretched again when Hart could only palm a Coleman cross as far as Mirallas but the Belgian's header was deflected over.
The start of the second half was much quieter by comparison but City did show some urgency with Kolarov forcing John Heitinga to hack away a cross in the area. Everton went close again when Osman had a volley deflected over from a corner but when Pienaar caught Garcia he was shown his second yellow card.
City tried to force the pace and make their extra man count. They almost broke through when Tevez stretched to volley a Dzeko ball at Mucha. The ball rolled invitingly across goal for Milner but Mucha recovered quickly and threw his body in the way as the England man looked certain to equalise.
Everton had no intention of sitting back and were close to a second when former City defender Distin headed narrowly over from a Leighton Baines corner. City pieced together another good move but Mucha again spread himself well to deny Zabaleta after David Silva had found him in space on the right.
City continued to press and had an opportunity when a Tevez shot struck Fellaini's arm but from the resulting free-kick Kolarov hit the wall. Everton rode out the storm and broke away in injury time through Fellaini, who rolled wide for Jelavic to beat Hart with a deflected shot.
The win sent Everton to fifth and put pressure on Liverpool and Arsenal, whom they leapfrogged and played at 3pm, to rise above them again. The defeat left City 12 points behind Manchester United, who play Reading at home later in the day.
Everton manager David Moyes: "I would have been disappointed if we hadn't responded, and surprised if we hadn't. The players played great. We were playing the champions of England and we gave them a right good run for their money.
"What you saw is what Everton do. We played really well in the first half and in the second half, when we were down to 10 men, we did what Everton did 11 years ago when I took over.
"We were resilient, hard to beat, made sure the opposition didn't score, threw ourselves on the line for the team. We were rubbish last week but we have been good all season and you are watching a really good Everton side.
"It is just to make sure people realise we have not gone away. We are still there. I think people last week thought we had gone away.
"We've got a tough run-in, we play a lot of the top teams and we're going to have to take one game at a time if we can. Today makes people realise we've not gone away - we're still there."
Manchester City assistant manager David Platt: "He [Roberto Mancini] is just taking stock of the situation and calming down. He doesn't want to come out here and say anything that might get him in trouble. Everything in general, our performance [angers him] - we weren't really at it throughout the game.
"We have an obligation to win football matches between now and the end of the season, regardless of whether there is a points advantage or it is mathematically impossible, which it isn't at this moment."
|30 Mar 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|07 Apr 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|13 Apr 2013||v QPR (H)|
|16 Apr 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|20 Apr 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|27 Apr 2013||v Fulham (H)|