And you all thought domestic tournaments could not bring the same passion and excitement of continental ones.
Going down to ten men is kind of like forgetting your tie and left shoe on your wedding day. You look awkward, you’re unsure how to continue the current task, and by the time you’re done dancing your unshoed foot is so tired you will need a week’s rest before you think of walking off the couch to the refrigerator and back. Everton got a red card in the 56th minute yesterday. Typically, this would lead to 34 minutes of agonizing work for the ten men that are left on the pitch. Yesterday was different in that the ten men found a way back in the game an exceptional dribble from Kevin Mirallas who found a streaking Lukaku whom clumsily tapped the ball home to knot the game at one and send it to extra time. Extra time was more of the same. Everton held on and defended well and found themselves with chances on the counter. Again, Kevin Mirallas was involved in the go-ahead Toffee goal. Check out his free kick below:
We thought it was written in the stars that Everton would come away victorious but Carlton Cole, after just two minutes on the field, scored the equalizer in the 112th minute.
This locked the game and sent it to penalties.
Penalties are like flipping a coin. My sister could score on Gianluigi Buffon if he guessed the wrong way. They are a difficult end to a hard fought game. What surprised me about these pens was that Leighton Baines shot so late in Everton’s lineup. But that doesn’t matter.
Stewart Downing had a chance to win the thing with the fifth penalty but sent a soft shot into Joel Robles hands. The battle raged on until it was the goalkeeper’s chance to put the game to bed. Robles stepped up and in typical goalkeeper fashion smashed the ball off the under side of the bar, down off the goal line and out. This left a chance for Adrian, the West Ham goalie, to send the Hammers through to the fifth round of the FA Cup. And the following ensued:
Like I said, losing in penalties is awful. It is even worse when you battled so hard with ten men to get there. It is even worse when your goalie, whom never expected to be in the game (Howard’s injury) or taking a penalty, misses his opportunity and then has to step in and attempt to save the day as the emotions of a thousand fiery galaxies rage in his head. It’s a tough sentiment this game but what a showing for the FA Cup and what a showing for England. Congratulations to West Ham and keep the run alive!