Football: Hughes and Giggs united in inspiration

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Everton . . . . . .0

Manchester United .2

MANCHESTER UNITED, who might have been expected to be brooding over their costly exit from Europe, once again revealed a relentless

appetite for the domestic fray by dismissing Everton from the Coca-Cola Cup before a near-capacity crowd at Goodison Park last night.

Mark Hughes's 10th goal of the season set the champions on their way early in the match. Ryan Giggs, with his first as a 20-year-old, made it

2-0 within the opening 90 seconds of the second half,

although United were indebted to Peter Schmeichel for a fine penalty save from Tony Cottee six minutes later.

The Danish goalkeeper had further opportunities to demonstrate his agility, twice denying the lively Stuart Barlow, but the two-goal margin did not flatter Alex Ferguson's side.

Everton paid a heavy price for Howard Kendall's cautious game plan, which initially

involved using Cottee as a lone, lightweight attacker with

Graham Stuart theoretically striking from deep positions. The introduction of Barlow, whose pace belatedly unsettled the United centre-backs, reaped an instant dividend in the form of the penalty, but made it difficult to understand why he was a substitute in the first place.

United had lost both previous League Cup ties against Everton. Their enterprising start, which delivered a goal after 13 minutes, suggested they had no intention of allowing history to repeat itself. Dave Watson was caught out by Paul Ince's lofted through pass, which Hughes chested down before volleying ruthlessly in an arc over Neville Southall, from just outside the box.

Everton were caught cold at the start of the second half as United doubled their lead following a classic counter-attack. First-time touches by Giggs and Eric Cantona worked the ball wide to Andrei Kanchelskis, who cut inside and put in an angled shot which Southall could only parry into the path of Giggs. The Welsh prodigy drilled the ball home from six yards.

Barlow duly appeared and with his first touch sent Stuart surging into the area. There was no direct threat to goal, but Gary Pallister sent the Everton player tumbling. Unfortunately for Kendall, the player he had substituted was Mark Ward, the regular

penalty-taker, and Schmeichel compounded his misfortune by plunging to his right to beat out Cottee's kick.

'United are an excellent side,' the Everton manager said ruefully, the grimace turning to a grin as he added: 'I fancy them for the championship, actually.'

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Watson, Ablett, Hinchcliffe; Horne, Snodin (Radosavljevic, 69), Ebbrell, Ward (Barlow, 52); Cottee, Stuart. Substitute not used: Kearton (gk).

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Parker, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin; Kanchelskis, Robson (Ferguson, 77), Ince, Giggs; Cantona, Hughes. Substitutes not used: McClair, Sealey (gk).

Referee: P Wright (Northwich).