Everton set up an FA Cup semi-final Merseyside derby at Wembley with a deserved victory at Sunderland.
January signing Nikica Jelavic fired the Toffees in front in the first half when he swept in Magaye Gueye’s cross. They doubled their lead with a horrible own goal from David Vaughan, who kicked the ball against himself as a Jelavic shot looked to be trickling wide.
Sunderland’s best chance fell to Stephane Sessegnon but he hooked a shot against the post from a tight angle.
It ended hopes of the Black Cats returning to Wembley for the first time in 14 years but sets up a mouth-watering clashing between Everton and rivals Liverpool.
That was nothing less than David Moyes’s side deserved after a dominant performance in this replay.
A pulsating atmosphere led to a hectic start but it was Everton that produced the moments of quality and who looked particularly menacing in the air.
They were only denied a 20th-minute opener by a wonderful save from Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, whose quick reflexes kept out Tim Cahill’s powerful header from six yards.
The Belgian keeper was called upon again to keep out headers from Cahill and Jelavic as the Toffees piled the pressure on the home side.
And they finally got the breakthrough midway through the first half.
Gueye, a surprise starter with Royston Drenthe missing on compassionate grounds, fired in a low cross to Jelavic, who lost marker Sotirios Kyrgiakos to deftly stroke the ball inside Mignolet’s near post.
It was a role reversal from the first encounter at Goodison Park when the Black Cats pounced on Everton’s slow start before the home side finally responded.
But Sunderland could not react in the same way and failed to break down the Everton defence superbly marshalled by Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga, who signalled his intent with a crunching tackle on masked striker Nicklas Bendtner.
Winger James McClean saw little of the ball but 10 minutes before the break he fired in a fierce cross that Bendtner looked like smashing in to the net but for a critical toe-end away by Leighton Baines.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill introduced Vaughan shortly after the break with his side struggling to retain possession but it was a decision that backfired spectacularly. The midfielder’s sloppy pass gave the ball away, which led to Mignolet making a half-save from Jelavic but as Vaughan scampered back to complete the clearance, he could only put the ball in his own net.
Sunderland almost provided an instant response when Everton keeper Tim Howard misjudged a corner but Sessegnon’s volley struck the woodwork.
Jelavic missed two good chances to make the scoreline more emphatic while Fraizer Campbell was denied by Howard’s legs in injury time.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!