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Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 20:35 UK

Standard Liege 2-1 Everton (4-3)

By Mark Ashenden

Steven Defour celebrates
Liege's Steven Defour was at the centre of most of the action

Everton were sent crashing out of the Uefa Cup as they lost 4-3 on aggregate to an excellent Standard Liege side.

Despite an impressive start from the visitors, Axel Witsel volleyed home, before Phil Jagielka gave Everton hope with a second-half equaliser.

But Belgium's league leaders ensured their progress with Milan Jovanovic's penalty, after what had seemed to be a fair tackle from Leighton Baines.

Everton poured forward but were unable to equalise and force extra time.

It has been a torrid few days for David Moyes and his team, losing to rivals Liverpool at the weekend and being dumped out of the Carling Cup by Blackburn.

The odds were also stacked against them needing to score against a team riding high at the top of the Belgian first division.

606: DEBATE
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Moyes, without the services of former Liege player Marouane Fellaini, dropped Joseph Yobo and drafted in Baines and chose Louis Saha as Yakubu's partner in attack as he made two changes to the team that lost to Liverpool at the weekend.

Despite reports of player dissatisfaction over their manager's delay in signing a new contract, the visitors began the game full of energy and commitment, snapping at the heels of the hosts.

Saha, making only his second start since signing from Manchester United, and Mikel Arteta were both exhibiting their full range of tricks in the opening exchanges, but the defenders undid all their hard work upfront midway through the first half.

Keeper Tim Howard did well to keep out Steven Defour's dipping shot, but he was left stranded when Jovanovic cleverly floated the ball back into the six yard box.

After a great run at the back post Belgium's Witsel was left unmarked and he blasted the ball into the net with a low volley to send the home supporters wild.

Everton now needed to score twice, but as the rain lashed down they gave themselves hope thanks to good work by Victor Anichebe.

Just a few minutes after coming on as substitute for Tony Hibbert, the Nigerian's shot was deflected over with the equaliser arriving from the following corner.

Liege keeper Rorys Aragon dropped the ball twice and Jagielka was lurking a few yards out to stab home.

Although Everton were making life difficult for the hosts, Liege were always a threat on the break and it was a dazzling run by Jovanovic that ended with the referee pointing to the spot.

Jovanovic carved open the Everton defence with a one-two with Dieumerci Mbokani, before falling under a tackle from Baines.

It was a tight decision with the Everton defender appearing to get the ball before making contact with the attacker, but Jovanovic took full advantage to calmly convert.

Everton's players poured forward in search of an equaliser, but not even the presence of keeper Howard in the opposing box could force the game into extra-time.

Moyes, his players and fans looked stunned at the final whistle and they will now have to pick themselves up for the weekend's game against Newcastle.


Standard Liege: Aragon, Dante, Onyewu, Dalmat, Camozzato, Sarr, Nicaise, Defour, Witsel, Jovanovic, Mbokani.
Subs not used: Devriendt, Goreux, Toama, Mikulic, Benko, Ingrao, Mangala.

Booked: Defour.

Goals: Witsel 22, Jovanovic pen 79.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert (Anichibe 63), Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Neville (Yobo 88), Osman, Cahill, Arteta, Yakubu, Saha (Pienaar 71).
Subs not used: Nash, Castillo, Nuno Valente, Rodwell.

Booked: Baines.

Goals: Jagielka 67.

Att: 27,406

Ref: Peter Sippel.


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Standard Liege's Axel Witsel and Milan Jovanovic on 6.89 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Uefa Cup as it happened
02 Oct 08 |  Europe
Moyes wants to remain at Everton
02 Oct 08 |  Everton
Uefa Cup photos
02 Oct 08 |  Football
Everton 2-2 Standard Liege
18 Sep 08 |  Europe


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