Goalkeeper Sébastien Frey was ACF Fiorentina's hero, adding a penalty shoot-out save to several in regulation time as Everton FC's stirring two-goal UEFA Cup Round of 16 comeback came to nothing at Goodison Park.
Very much second best for the 90 minutes in Florence six days ago David Moyes's charges proved a different proposition on home turf with goals in either half from Andrew Johnson and Mikel Arteta. Frey prevented further damage, however, and the game lurched into extra time and then penalties where the Viola No1 denied Philip Jagielka. With Yakubu Ayegbeni already seeing his effort come back off the crossbar, it allowed Mario Alberto Santana to seal a 4-2 shoot-out success and Fiorentina's first European quarter-final since 1997.
For much of the game it had seemed like Everton's night as Andrew Johnson struck his fourth of the UEFA Cup campaign to reduce the arrears after only 16 minutes. Steven Pienaar's dangerous cross bounced awkwardly, and Frey could only push it into the path of Johnson, who bundled it over the line with his chest from point-blank range. It was good improvisation, and Frey displayed more soon after to get across his goal to turn Arteta's free-kick past the post.
Fortunately for Fiorentina, Frey was in inspired form. He denied Yakubu after the Nigerian international striker twisted and turned to create an opening before pulling off a brilliant save just before the interval to keep out Johnson's effort. Arteta followed up, squaring the ball for Yakubu to turn in, and though the assistant referee's flag was raised, the disappointment did not last too long.
On 66 minutes Arteta levelled the aggregate scores, advancing towards the penalty area as the Viola defence backed off before unleashing a low, zipping shot that crept inside Frey's far post. Moments later the Viola keeper denied Yobo twice as the hosts resumed their onslaught, yet Fiorentina survived, forced extra time, and after Giampaolo Pazzini had twice gone close, penalties – the scene of Frey's final heroics.