Everton have given themselves a handy advantage heading into the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final.
The Toffees put on an impressive display in beating Manchester City 2-1 in an absorbing first leg contest at Goodison Park as they took one step closer to securing their first major trophy in 21 seasons.
City dominated proceedings early before the home side got a foothold as the first half progressed and they made it count on the stroke of the break when Ramiro Funes Mori scored his first Goodison goal for the club.
A Toffees corner was cleared only into the path of Ross Barkley who fired a stinging left-footed effort into the palms of Willy Caballero with the deflection falling to a grateful Funes Mori who slotted home on the turn.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, City worked their way back on level terms with a swift move on the break, resulting in Sergio Aguero’s delightfully-weighted ball for substitute Jesus Navas who calmly slotted beyond Joel Robles for his first goal in 66 games.
Moments later, however, Everton edged their noses ahead when Gareth Barry sent a floating ball into the area which was met by a powerful header from Romelu Lukaku to tally his 19th goal of the season has 12th in his past 12 outings.
There were plenty of chances for both sides throughout, with Everton having two goals ruled out for offside in the first half, while making Caballero work with a total of seven efforts on goal.
The loss was Manuel Pellegrini’s first to Everton and sees City head into the home leg at the Etihad Stadium on January 27 narrowly trailing as they now set their sights on Norwich City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
For Everton, they will be looking to take the confidence of a win of such magnitude when hosting Dagenham & Redbridge in the cup on the weekend while having the trip to Manchester in the back of their minds.
2015/16 CAPITAL ONE CUP – SEMI-FINAL FIRST LEG
Everton: 2 (Ramiro Funes Mori 45+1′, Romelu Lukaku 78′)
Manchester City: 1 (Jesus Navas 76′)
Goodison Park, Liverpool