Hull City 0 Everton 2 match report: A final goal and a World Cup hint for Romelu Lukaku
Belgian notched his 15th goal in his final game for Everton as he prepares to head back to parent club Chelsea
Sunday 11 May 2014
A farewell strike from Romelu Lukaku and a first goal for the club from James McCarthy helped Everton to a comfortable win at Hull, even without conspicuous absentees Ross Barkley and John Stones.
Barkley, the midfielder, and Stones, a defender, were omitted from Roberto Martinez’s matchday 18, fuelling speculation that the Spaniard was privy to Roy Hodgson’s plans for the World Cup.
Martinez said he does not know if either will today be named in the squad for Brazil but confirmed they were rested. He said: “They have played a lot of football of late. We had to protect them today and I wanted to look at other players who have been out injured. Ross and John will be busy this summer. They have the opportunity of representing the senior side but there is also the Under-21s in the Toulon tournament.
“We had to make sure they didn’t go into the summer with a risk of injury. Now they are fine. They’ve been regenerating all week and they’re ready for whatever comes.”
Even without Barkley and Stones, Everton made short work of a Hull team who have had an eye and a half on Wembley since winning the semi-final.
Allan McGregor returned to the Tigers team for the first time since 26 March, having made a surprisingly recovery after breaking three ribs and damaging his kidney in a clash at West Ham United for which he was sent off. This was a chance to prove he deserves the call over Steve Harper at Wembley but McGregor failed his first test.
Lukaku found Steven Naismith, whose incisive pass was perfect for McCarthy. The shot was firm but McGregor got a hand to it and should have kept it out. Instead, it looped inside the back post.
Everton were comfortable and, 46 seconds after the break, they worked the ball from the right-back area and, when Leon Osman’s pass released Lukaku, the Belgian shrugged off Paul McShane and hit his 16th goal of his season on loan from Chelsea.
Hull have not won since booking a return to Wembley and Steve Bruce, their manager, said: “We’ve limped along in the last few weeks. We’re not a team that can saunter around. Nowhere near. I can understand it to a degree. None of them have played in the FA Cup final before, so they’re desperate to play.”
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