Everton 4-1 Fulham: Coleman and Barry ensure normality at Goodison Park over Fulham (video)

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Fulham went into halftime a goal down and brought it back level on a penalty, but Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry restored order and gave Everton all three points in a 4-1 win at Goodison Park.

Leon Osman had the opener for Everton early, and the 1-0 lead stood for a while before Dimitar Berbatov finished from the spot to give the visitors hope, but their Goodison Park woes continue.

The match had a bit of a dull start, with both sides looking to win the possession game and solidify themselves with deliberate build-up play.

Fulham won that battle early on, but couldn’t produce much of anything in the opening 15 minutes.

Everton played on the counter-attack mostly, looking to build more, and their fluidity bought them the opener.

In the 18th minute Bryan Oviedo on the wing found Setven Pienaar who sliced back for Leon Osman making a run, and the midfielder cut back from right foot to left foot before letting fly past Stekelenburg from the top of the box.

Everton sprung to life after the goal, and Romelu Lukaku would have had a second on a header if Stekelenburg had not saved beautifully from close range.

They pushed again after the half-hour mark, with Gerard Deulofeu continuing to harass the Fulham left flank. Osman had a good chance at a second from deep but his bending shot went wide left.

source: AP
Gareth Barry conceded a penalty in the second half, but made amends with a cleanup goal – Everton’s third – to ensure the result.

After the halftime break Fulham pressed early, with Scott Parker coming close in the first two minutes. Then again some bright play from the away side saw Steve Sidwell fire off a shot which was deflected directly to Kacaniklic all alone in front of goal, but he blazed over, missing a sitter with nobody but Howard to stop him.

With the early chances wasted, Fulham were back to defending Everton’s smart build-up play.

Unfortunate circumstances struck Martinez and Everton, as the bright Deulofeu went down injured and had to be stretchered off on 60 minutes, replaced by Kevin Mirallas.

Fulham asked a few questions, and found their answer in the 65th minute when Alex Kacaniklic was fouled by Gareth Barry in the edge of the box. It’s the second week in a row Kacaniklic has won a penalty, smartly inviting contact by shielding the ball with his body and easing into the defender.

Dimitar Berbatov finished the penalty easily, wrong-footing Howard for level terms.

It wouldn’t last long though, as Everton didn’t change a thing and found another reward. Steven Pienaar made a run and Lukaku found him in traffic.  Pienaar’s cross was initially stopped by a diving Stekelenburg, but it spilled through his hands and Seamus Coleman was there to collect and finish into the empty net.

Everton, with their lead restored, had he same for their confidence, and they’d put it away in the 85th minute when Gareth Barry got the close-range rebound from a Stekelenburg save and poked it home off his head.

Kevin Mirallas made it 4-1, a trinket of his own at the death, as he wrong-footed Stekelenburg from distance in injury time.

The loss means Fulham have now gone 26 league matches without a win at Goodison Park, and only four points overall.

Everton take the three points and move above Liverpool temporarily into fourth place with 31 points.

Fulham remain in 18th place still looking to edge their way out of the relegation zone.

GOALS:

Everton – Osman 18′, Coleman 73′, Barry 85′, Mirallas 90’+4
Fulham – Berbatov 63′ (pen)

LINEUPS:

Everton – Howard; Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, Osman, Pienaar (Stones 88′), Barkley, Deulofeu (Mirallas 63′); Lukaku.

Fulham – Stekelenburg; Riise, Senderos, Hughes, Riether; Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis (Bent 78′), Kacaniklic (Kasami 69′), Dejagah; Berbatov.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

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Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”