Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Anwar El Ghazi inflicts late blow to hosts’ European hopes

Match report and free highlights as Everton miss the chance to move above Tottenham and Liverpool after eighth Premier League home defeat of the season; Villa move into top half after first win in four games

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Saturday 1 May 2021 22:27, UK

Anwar El Ghazi’s 80th-minute strike dented Everton’s European hopes as Aston Villa secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

Ollie Watkins’ 14th Premier League goal of the season put Villa ahead after a mistake from Mason Holgate (13) but Dominic Calvert-Lewin restored parity when he met Lucas Digne’s corner (19).

But with the game meandering towards a draw, El Ghazi was afforded too much time to curl a shot into the far corner to clinch an eighth Premier League away win of the season for Dean Smith’s side.

The result means Everton remain in eighth place – nine points off the Champions League places with five games remaining – while Villa rise to ninth.

Player ratings

Everton: Pickford (8), Coleman (7), Digne (6), Godfrey (6), Holgate (5), Allan (7), Gomes (5), Sigurdsson (6), Iwobi (5), Richarlison (5), Calvert-Lewin (7).

Subs: Delph (5), King (n/a), Bernard (n/a).

Fulham: Martinez (6), Cash (7), Targett (7), Konsa (7), Mings (6), Luiz (6), McGinn (6), Barkley (7), El Ghazi (7), Traore (7), Watkins (8).

Subs: Davis (n/a), Ramsey (n/a).

Man of the match: Ollie Watkins.

More home frustration for Everton

This was the 205th top-flight meeting between Aston Villa and Everton, the most played fixture in England’s top division – but the hosts looked unsettled by the late withdrawal of James Rodriguez in the opening stages after the Colombian sustained a calf injury in the warm-up.

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Villa arrived on Merseyside having opened the scoring in each of their previous three Premier League games – failing to win any of them – but the manner in which Everton fell behind on Saturday was entirely self-inflicted.

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Holgate looked to play out from the back, but his poor control was pounced upon by Watkins, who showed good strength and composure to steal possession and tuck his shot between the legs of Jordan Pickford.

In front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, Watkins came close to adding to Villa’s lead when he raced onto an Ezri Konsa long ball, brushing off Holgate again, but his shot from the angle was smothered by Pickford.

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