Everton secured their place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night, thanks to a star performance from Gerard Deulofeu.
The Spaniard opened the scoring for the visitors with a stunning piece of individual brilliance as he jinxed his way to the edge of the box before sending a thumping effort into the back of the net.
However, the home side had been competitive up until that point and had threatened to find a goal of their own, although they saw an effort ruled out after Joel Robles was adjudged to have been fouled by Christian Stuani who bundled him over before diverting the ball into the goal.
Everton regrouped and it wasn’t long before they had doubled their lead, with Deulofeu turning provider as he produced a wonderful piece of skill to beat his man down the right flank before crossing for Romelu Lukaku to head home.
That put Roberto Martinez’s side in a commanding position, and aside from a 20-minute period in the second half where the hosts looked for a way back into the game, the Spaniard will be left content with what he saw from his players.
Stuani did have a glorious opportunity to put pressure on the Toffees late on, but he sent his header over the bar as ‘Boro were left disappointed that their cup run had come to an end.
It was no surprise that Deulofeu was awarded the man of the match prize, and the 21-year-old will hope that he can extend his current form and maintain his high levels for the rest of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Everton will await the outcome of tomorrow night’s clash between Liverpool and Southampton, as Stoke City and Manchester City joined them in the hat for the draw for the semi-finals.
In contrast, Aitor Karanka’s side will now refocus on the Championship, as they currently trail league leaders Brighton by two points in their bid to ensure that they see the likes of Everton on a more regular basis in the Premier League next year.