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Everton beats Man U on pens to reach FA Cup final

EVERTON reached an FA Cup final against Chelsea by beating Manchester United 4-2 in a penalty shootout yesterday after the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Wembley.

Tim Howard saved two penalties in the shootout against his former club and the Toffees will return to the home of English football to face the Blues on May 30. Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 in Saturday's semifinal, also at Wembley.

"It's one of the proudest moments of my career, to lead the team out at Wembley in the FA Cup final," said Everton captain Phil Neville, a former Man United player. "We've beaten the best side in the world. It's just a really proud moment."

Everton won the last of its five FA Cups by beating Man United in 1995 - its last major title - and now has ousted the record 11-time winner in the semifinal.

"It's a bit of a lottery," Ferguson said of the shootout system. "But it's the only way you can decide a game in that situation. We've won games like that, so we can't complain."

The shootout loss means that United's bid to become the first club to win five titles in one season is over. The Red Devils have already won the FIFA Club World Cup and the domestic League Cup and is also defending the Premier League and Champions League titles.

With a league game to come against Portsmouth on Wednesday, United manager Alex Ferguson left out several of his regular starters, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

That meant 17-year-old Italian striker Federico Macheda, who has scored two matchwinning goals as a substitute, started alongside Carlos Tevez with Dimitar Berbatov on the bench.

United's backup goalkeeper, Ben Foster, rescued his team with a diving save to keep out a shot from Tim Cahill early in the second half of a poor quality game.

Ferguson was out of his seat waving furiously when his team was not awarded a penalty after Danny Welbeck appeared to be pushed over by Phil Jagielka.

When the shootout came, Cahill shot over the top but Berbatov fired weakly at Howard, who saved with his legs. After Leighton Baines had beaten Foster, Howard dived to his right to save from Rio Ferdinand. Although Nemanja Vidic and Anderson hit the target for Man United, Phil Neville - another former United player - James Vaughan and Jagielka all netted for Everton.

In yesterday's Premier League games, Darren Bent's goal gave Tottenham a 1-0 victory over Newcastle to push the Magpies closer to relegation and Robinho scored his first in 12 games in Manchester City's 4-2 triumph over last-place West Bromwich Albion.

Bent scored in the 24th minute at White Hart Lane. Obafemi Martins missed a chance to equalize for Newcastle in the 87th.

Tottenham stays in ninth place in the league and Newcastle is next-to-last, four points away from safety. Manager Alan Shearer, one of Newcastle's most popular strikers, has yet to win in three games since taking over and now has only five more games to rescue the Magpies, including home matches against Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham.

"We'll be expected to win those and we have to win those starting with next Monday against Portsmouth. My attention is now on that must-win game," said Shearer who was angry that his team didn't show intensity for the entire game.

"I've just said to them, very pleased with the second half but give me an explanation why there's no urgency like that from minute one. We have to start games in the first minute like we finish them in the last 30 minutes."

Robinho, who had not scored since December, volleyed home a pass from Stephen Ireland in the eighth minute for Man City, and Nedum Onuoha made it 2-0 in the 21st. Chris Brunt scored twice as West Brom hit back to make it 2-2, but Elano scored a 56th-minute penalty and Daniel Sturridge added a fourth in injury time.

The loss left West Brom nine points away from safety with only five games to go.


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