SK Brann 0-2 Everton FC
Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe scored lovely second-half goals as Everton resumed their UEFA Cup charge.
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Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe scored superb second-half goals as Everton FC left SK Brann with a 2-0 victory and a significant advantage in this Round of 32 tie.
Chances had been at a premium before Osman struck just before the hour mark, drilling the loose ball across goal and into the corner of the net from just outside the box. Everton's second, with two minutes to play, owed itself as much to Joleon Lescott's wonderful pass as Anichebe's controlled finish, and the visitors will be confident of completing the job at Goodison Park a week on Thursday to earn a meeting with either Rosenborg BK or ACF Fiorentina.
Everton began with the confidence of a team occupying fourth spot in the Premier League and could have struck with barely 30 seconds played had Yakubu Ayegbeni not scuffed his shot from a narrowing angle. Still, the visitors were fortunate not to fall behind in the ninth minute as Jan Gunnar Solli curled in a free-kick from the left which Kristján Sigurdsson flicked on for Azar Karadas who, surprised by the pace of the ball, could only head over when well placed.
Those early forays were not a sign of things to come, though, as graft superseded craft and defences established control. Brann goalkeeper Håkon Opdal produced one acrobatic stop to deny Osman, while Tim Howard in the opposite net was untroubled until added time when a foul on the American by Eirik Bakke prevented Brann from scoring from a corner.
Everton approached the second half with more purpose and Tim Cahill had fired a warning by shooting against the post before Osman broke the deadlock in the 59th minute. Howard then had to be alert to prevent Thorstein Helstad from netting a speedy equaliser, although there was to be no denying David Moyes's side as substitute Anichebe touched in Lescott's curled cross from the left to add the gloss to Everton's sixth successive victory in the UEFA Cup.