|Everton 0 v 1 Leeds United|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 28th November 2020 Kick-off 17:30
Match Report: Everton 0-1 Leeds United - Raphinha's rocket gives Whites a well deserved win
Saturday, 28th Nov 2020 20:25 by Lucas Monk
Owing to a sumptuous second-half strike from Raphinha, Leeds United secured their first win since October as they defeated Everton at Goodison Park for the first time since 1990.
Last Sunday, Leeds United were much the better side against Arsenal at Elland Road. They fashioned a multitude of opportunities, but their profligacy allowed the Gunners to slink away with a point.
There was to be no repeat of this on Merseyside, though. Raphinha’s crisp drive, his first goal for the club, was the icing on the cake, capping off a wonderful performance on the part of Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
It was evident, even during the youth of this contest, that Leeds would attack with their typical verve and vivacity. Everton created an early opportunity after a slick pass in behind the United rearguard allowed Abdoulaye Doucoure to test Illan Meslier from close range. The rangy goalkeeper stood firm and thereafter his side began to mount attack after attack.
Raphinha was in fine fettle. Mateusz Klich released him with a through ball, and he switched the play inside and found Jack Harrison, who should have put the visitors ahead instead of squeezing his low shot narrowly wide of the post.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then found himself springing into action to deny Patrick Bamford yet another goal on the road. From Klich’s scuffed effort, Bamford fired a low shot toward goal that Pickford blocked with his legs.
The first period was most open in nature. Although Leeds were comfortably the better of the two teams, a few opportunities did present themselves to Everton. James Rodriguez, the former Real Madrid playmaker, expertly lashed the ball into the United net following a deep cross from Richarlison, but then saw the effort ruled out for an offside.
Pickford was then involved once more, as was Raphinha, who rose highest to meet a laser-guided cross from the right. His header looked to be dropping into the net but Pickford, at full stretch, was able to keep the scores level. Harrison then saw a goal-bound effort on the rebound hacked off the line at the last.
It was then Meslier’s turn to deny Everton at the other end, getting the full weight of his body to stop Michael Keane’s volleyed effort in its tracks.
Shortly thereafter, the Toffees would have another goal ruled out. Richarlison met Rodriguez’s corner and planted a header into the net, but the assistant referee deemed Ben Godfrey, in an offside position, to be interfering with play, namely by obscuring Meslier’s line of sight.
Richarlison continued to threaten, and Meslier twice had to deny him, parrying one effort and gathering another.
It would be Leeds who finished the first half most strongly, though. First, Harrison met a deep cross and headed it against the post. Then, Klich was only a matter of inches away from giving his team the lead, as he struck a lovely curling effort from outside the box that whistled past the far post.
Everton had been second-best in the first half, and after emerging from the tunnel for the second they made a sprightly start. Some pinpoint passing twice allowed the bustling Dominic Calvert-Lewin to run in behind the Leeds defence. On the first occasion, Meslier was equal to his effort at the near post. On the second, the striker dragged his shot wide.
It was soon the turn of United to have a goal chalked off. Ezgjan Alioski hooked the ball into the box, and Bamford lashed it into the net. The celebrations were short-lived. Alioski was offside during the build-up.
Prior to that, Leeds had fashioned a few more opportunities with Bamford sending an effort looping over the bar and Harrison drawing a comfortable save from Pickford. There were a couple of brief scares, firstly when Meslier struck a weak pass straight to Rodriguez, but the Colombian’s chipped effort lacked the conviction required to beat the Frenchman. Secondly, Allan surged through the centre and past Liam Cooper before seeing a low shot ricochet wide.
As it was, the decisive moment arose in the 79th minute. 25 yards from goal, Raphinha composed himself and unleashed a scorching drive that skidded along the turf and into the back of the net. Pickford stood no chance, so well-hit was the shot.
By this point Everton were beaten. They failed to create any clear openings during the game’s remainder. Leeds negotiated what was left of the contest exceptionally well, and if not for more heroics on Pickford’s part, substitute Helder Costa would have added some gloss to the scoreline in injury time, after fellow substitute Ian Poveda led Fabian Delph a merry dance before crossing the ball for the Portuguese.
Leeds richly deserved the victory. The fulcrum of an imperious showing was, unquestionably, the metronomic Kalvin Phillips, who displayed an equanimity and maturity beyond his years both in and out of possession. Everton’s failure to nullify him cost them dearly. United were also reasonably solid in a defensive sense, with Calvert-Lewin limited to half-chances and Rodriguez and Richarlison unable to affect the game in a significant way. Of course, it goes without saying that Raphinha’s excellent showing, full of flair and dynamism, will take the headlines, along with his superlative goal.
United, 11th in the Premier League table following this triumph, can now travel to Stamford Bridge next week full of confidence and in the knowledge that they have every chance of securing a result against high-flying Chelsea.
Everton (3-4-3): Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Holgate (Bernard 82’); Davies (Delph 61’), Doucoure, Allan, Iwobi (Gomes 67’); Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Unused subs: Lossl, Mina, Sigurdsson, Tosun.
Leeds United (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Raphinha (Poveda 85’), Klich, Harrison (Costa 89’), Alioski; Bamford (Rodrigo 90+1’).
Unused subs: Casilla, Davis, Struijk, Roberts.
Match Statistics (Everton / Leeds):
Possession: 42% / 58%
Shots: 15 / 23
On target: 8 / 7
Corners: 4 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 14
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Booked: Allan (Everton). Ayling, Cooper (Leeds).
Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips (Leeds).
Photo: Action Images
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