dd Everton win to boost Europa League hopes

Everton win to boost Europa League hopes

Published: 02 Jul 2020   

Online Desk

Everton kept up their post-restart push for a place in next season's Europa League with an impressive victory over Leicester at Goodison Park.


The Blues are unbeaten since the Premier League began again two weeks ago, with a second successive win coming courtesy of two goals in quick succession in the game's first quarter, reports BBC.


Richarlison struck from close range before Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a debatable penalty, awarded following a lengthy VAR review for handball against Wilfred Ndidi.


Leicester rallied at the start of the second half and pulled a somewhat fortuitous goal back when Mason Holgate's attempted clearance flew into the net off the face of substitute Kelechi Iheanacho.


But they were unable to make the most of the larger share of possession and chances to gain parity.


It is another blow for the Foxes, who exited the FA Cup at the hands of Chelsea at the weekend and now face a real test to hang on to their top-four spot in the table.


Two points from their past three games has opened the door to Manchester United and Wolves, both of whom are only three points behind Leicester and in much better form.


Everton, though, are looking up the table, with this win leaving them one point behind eighth-place Tottenham - a position that could be good enough to secure a European spot for next season.


Richarlison limped from the field in the second half following a challenge by Ndidi, although manager Carlo Ancelotti eased fears after the game by stating the Brazilian should be fit to face Tottenham in five days time.


Everton came into the game off the back of a seven-day rest from action - a rarity in this post-lockdown rush to conclude the 2019-20 season.


It enabled Ancelotti to make only minor tweaks to a side that had initially struggled in a 1-0 win at Norwich in their previous game.


Sigurdsson, who came on to contribute to an improved second-half display at Carrow Road, was restored to the team, as was fellow midfielder Anthony Gordon for his second Premier League start.


The pair both contributed to Everton's first-half onslaught, which brought the two goals that won them the match.


Gordon's whipped cross from the left laid Richarlison's 11th goal of the season on a plate, while Sigurdsson demonstrated calmness to slot away the spot-kick soon after.


The Iceland international had to wait to dispatch it, with the video official needing numerous replays to decide if the ball had struck Ndidi's outstretched arm during his aerial challenge with Michael Keane.


Everton could be forgiven for being shocked at the award of the penalty - it was their first in 38 league games, and the first they have scored at Goodison since Wayne Rooney against Swansea in December 2017.


They were forced to dig deep for the win, though, especially after the double blow of conceding and losing Richarlison to injury.


Everton gave away 65% of possession and numerous chances to Leicester, and almost gifted them an equaliser through a mix-up between Keane and keeper Jordan Pickford before the defender hacked the ball off the line.

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