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Mykolenko-led Everton avoid FA Cup shock


Liverpool (AFP) – Everton avoided one of the all-time FA Cup upsets by seeing off non-league Boreham Wood 2-0 thanks to a Salomon Rondon double to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday.

The Toffees were captained by Ukrainian international Vitalii Mykolenko on the day one of the club’s key backers, Alisher Usmanov, was hit by sanctions from the British government amid the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Usmanov is a long-time business partner of Everton owner, British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri.

The Russian billionaire sponsored Everton’s training ground through his firm USM Holdings and had first-option naming rights for the club’s new stadium.

Everton suspended their sponsorship arrangements with USM and other Russian companies Megafon and Yota on Monday with their advertising boards hastily removed ahead of the fifth round tie at Goodison Park.

Both sides entered the field bearing Ukrainian flags to the tune of John Lennon’s anti-war song “Imagine.”

Once the action got underway it was difficult to imagine there are 78 places between the sides in the English football pyramid as fifth-tier Wood held their own.

Everton were restricted to precious few chances before half-time, although there was nearly a fairytale first goal for the club for Mykolenko as his low drive was beaten away by Taye Ashby-Hammond.

Frank Lampard left Richarlison on the bench from the start, but the Brazilian international was needed to enliven Everton after the break.

Rondon should have opened the scoring when he headed over from Jonjoe Kenny’s cross.

The Venezuelan was brought to Goodison Park by unpopular former Everton boss Rafael Benitez as they united at a third different club.

Rondon had scored just one club goal all season before Thursday, but saved Lampard’s men from the embarrassment of extra-time as this time he did convert Kenny’s low cross on 57 minutes.

Richarlison had a second goal ruled out by VAR for offside, but Rondon made the tie safe when he forced a header over the line six minutes from time.

Everton will travel to Crystal Palace in the last eight.

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