Everton came back from 1-0 down to score two goals in the final fifteen minutes, beating Aston Villa 2-1 at Goodison Park. With Tottenham only able to manage a draw against Hull, that puts the Toffees back into fifth place, just one point behind Liverpool in the Premier League’s final Champions League slot.
The equalizer came courtesy of substitute Steven Naismith, who got on the end of a ball from another substitute, Steven Pienaar, to put his shot past Brad Guzan and into the back of the net. Everton’s winning goal came from yet another free kick, only the man taking it was, perhaps surprisingly, not Leighton Baines. Instead Kevin Mirallas stepped up, putting in a masterful curling shot to give his side all three points.
In his post-match interview, Roberto Martínez called the win “the most satisfying victory of the season.” But rather than take credit for his second half substitutions, which changed the face of the game, he complimented his players. ” In the first half we were too responsible, the players were thinking too much, and were too concerned with the outcome rather than enjoying it,” Martínez said. “I couldn’t be more proud of that second-half display. We went out and enjoyed our football after half-time.”
The Everton manager also gave plenty of credit to Mirallas, calling his free kick a “moment of brilliance.” He went on to say, “”Kevin has just as much quality from free-kicks as Leighton. They are both incredible at situations like that.”
Paul Lambert, too, could not help but compliment the winning goal, labeling it a “world-class free kick.” The Aston Villa manager, however, made sure to point out that he wasn’t sure his side deserved to lose the game, saying they’d been excellent up until Naismith’s equalizer.
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.