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.

Pochettino calls out Xavi for Dele Alli-Man City “lie to lie to lie”

Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
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“He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona.”

Even half-kidding, the Derby Barceloni is alive and well for longtime Espanyol man Mauricio Pochettino and Barcelona legend Xavi.

At least that’s why the latter is trying to sabotage the former’s Premier League title fight, Pochettino says.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Speaking from his club team in Qatar, Xavi claimed that Manchester City is going to bid high for Spurs’ young star Dele Alli.

Tottenham boss Pochettino says that’s just not true. Pochettino was joking a bit when he answered questions on the topic, but then told a story about Xavi diving for a penalty in the derby. Here are a few of his thoughts, from The Telegraph:

“It wasn’t a penalty but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Barcelona and they won the game. After in the replay it was very funny because it was clear no one touched him. Come on! It goes from lie to lie to lie.”

“He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany.”

Boa Esporte goalkeeper back to prison as murder appeal denied

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The risk clearly wasn’t worth it for Boa Esporte.

The Brazilian club signed Bruno Fernandes de Souza in March, not long after the convicted murderer and goalkeeper was released from prison on appeal.

Fernandes, 32, had been jailed for ordering the murder of a lover, who was fed to dogs by the killer. Boa Esporte lost several big sponsors for signing him, but vocally defended the move.

The owner, Rone Moraes da Costa, said he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to revive his career. Fernandes admitted his mistakes but said he wasn’t “a bad guy”.

According to the Associated Press:

“Brazil’s Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to deny an appeal to Boa Esporte goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was released in March while appealing a 22-year sentence in the 2010 killing of Eliza Samudio.”

So it’s back to jail for Fernandes, and we’ll be waiting with baited breath to hear from Boa Esporte’s owner.

Conte: Chelsea “ready to fight to the end”

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Following Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal win over Spurs and Tuesday’s blowout of Southampton — the 4-2 score line didn’t tell the story of the second half — Antonio Conte is fired up for Chelsea to complete its Premier League title run.

The manager admits that his side was under pressure after Spurs narrowed the table gap to four points last week, but the wins have eased the Blues’ burden.

Chelsea had lost two of four PL matches before the weekend.

From Football.London:

“I think we passed a big, big psychological step after the defeat to United. We lost three points and had to prepare a semi-final against Tottenham and then another tough game in the league. In that moment we had a really important test and our answer was very good.

“We must think that this race is open, we have reached the final of the FA Cup. The situation in the league is totally open. We are ready to fight to the end. We must be proud for the job we are doing and to fight to the end.”

Spurs can bring the gap back to four with a win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday, but have a tougher run-in with five matches to play. As long as the gap is within six points, anything is possible, but the Blues have certainly answered the bell over the past four days.

Chelsea: Big win “feels like a massive step” to title

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“It feels like a massive step to be honest,” said game-changing goal scorer Gary Cahill of Chelsea’s 4-2 win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Chelsea’s Premier League lead stands at seven points after the win, which saw a dominant second half from the hosts.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Perhaps it was cued up by Cahill’s first half stoppage time header, which boosted the Blues to a 2-1 lead just before the whistle.

Cahill darted in front of Diego Costa‘s scissor kick attempt to power a header past Fraser Forster.

“(Costa) tried to claim it afterward as well,” Cahill said. “When the ball’s just lofted over, it’s dying to be attacked. We went into halftime with our tails up and it was a big boost for us.”

Cesc Fabregas said Southampton surprised the Blues tactically, leading to an entertaining first half that could’ve seen either side ahead before half.

“We needed a little bit of time to adapt to what they did because we prepared for something else,” he said.

Fabregas said the win was big with second-place Spurs watching at home. Tottenham plays at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

“We needed a good response after the Man United game. We have to keep going with five games to go, to keep it up and make the last push. It would be a big shame if now we relaxed. We just have to push now more than ever,” he said.

“It’s a statement for (Spurs), for us, for everyone, but most of all for us.”
Eden Hazard agreed.
“We scored four beautiful goals,” said the Belgian, who scored the game’s first goal. “It’s good to play before and put pressure on them.”