Cahill makes tough return to EPL

by AAP on Apr 24, 2011

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Returning from injury against Manchester United is challenging enough.

Playing the European powerhouse at Old Trafford at the business end of the season is another thing altogether.

So it proved for Tim Cahill as Everton succumbed to Javier Hernandez's 84th-minute winner from Antonio Valencia's deflected cross in Manchester.

The Mexican marksman's headed goal handed United a valuable 1-0 win and put them on the brink of a record 19th league title with a six-point edge and only four rounds to play.

Cahill, who is carrying a niggling foot injury, made his first appearance in more than a month at the beginning of the second half on a glorious spring day.

With United having peppered Everton's goal in the opening half, Cahill and Victor Anichebe were called off the bench to put some pressure on United's defence.

The fresh faces energised the visitors after the break with United defender Rio Ferdinand fortunate not to give away a penalty for his shove on Anichebe.

Cahill picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Ferdinand before Hernandez finally cracked Everton's stubborn resistance with six minutes to play of normal time.

Cahill had a chance on goal in injury time but was unable to put enough power on his header to trouble United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

The result meant that Everton have not won a league fixture in almost two decades at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, a rampant Scott McDonald scored a first half hat-trick for Middlesbrough in their 4-2 victory at Hull City in the English Championship.

The Socceroos striker has scored five goals in four matches and 13 goals for the season.

Compatriot Richard Garcia set up the home side's opener before McDonald took advantage of some hesitancy at the back in the 11th minute to drill a right-footed shot into the top corner from about ten metres out.

Two minutes later McDonald had another before scoring his third just before the break, turning his defender and firing home from close range.

Mark Schwarzer's premier league club Fulham picked up a valuable point in a 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton as the Londoners inched five points clear of the relegation zone.

The future of David Carney's Blackpool remained far from clear following a 1-1 draw at home against Newcastle.

The Seasiders are only above the drop zone on goal difference and Carney, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, must watch the nail-biting last few rounds from the sidelines.

In Italy, Mark Bresciano's Lazio missed an opportunity to shore up Champions League action next year with a 2-1 away loss to second-placed Inter Milan.