Everton 2-2 Arsenal: Late goals seal dramatic comeback for Gunners (video)

6 Comments

Everton threw away a 2-0 lead in the final seven minutes against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday, as the Gunners rallied to score twice late on and snatch a point from the jaws of defeat.

Agony for Everton. Ecstasy for Arsenal.

[MORE: Watch full replay, here]

The Toffees struck twice in the first half through Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith, as Arsenal were punished for sloppy defending. Roberto Martinez’s looked at ease for large swathes of the match but half time substitute Olivier Giroud went close on three occasions for the Gunners in the second half and that was a warning of what was to come late on.

[RELATED: Martinez bemoans late collapse]

Arsene Wenger’s men finally got on the board with seven minutes left as Santi Cazorla’s ball to the back post was tapped home by Aaron Ramsey to make it 2-1. then Giroud popped up in the 90th minute to equalize and stun the home crowd on Merseyside.

Roberto Martinez’s side now have two points from their opening two games, both 2-2 draws where they’ve squander leads late on, while Arsenal have one win and one draw after dramatic late goals in both of their opening PL games of 2014-15. Did they deserve a point against Everton on Saturday? Probably not, but they got it.

Arsenal now go into their crucial UEFA Champions League play-off second leg against Besiktas at the Emirates on Wednesday with a spring in their step.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

An early injury to Steven Pienaar caused a reshuffle for the home side as Leon Osman replaced the South African international in midfield. In the 16th minute Arsenal were handed a glorious chance to take the lead as Coleman played a poor clearance straight to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but the Arsenal man pushed his side-footed effort just wide. A real let off for the Toffees.

Soon after Coleman popped up at the other end of the pitch and gave Everton the lead. A short free kick from Leighton Baines found Gareth Barry and the midfielder clipped a delicate ball towards the back post which Coleman headed in unmarked. Mesut Ozil didn’t track Coleman and Calum Chambers dropped deep to keep Coleman and Romelu Lukaku onside as the Gunners defended sloppily at Goodison.

source: Getty Images
The Gunners trailed 2-0 early on as Everton came flying out of the traps.

Arsenal looked disjointed going forward as long balls up to Alexis Sanchez weren’t sticking and the North Londoners were being frustrated by a stubborn Everton defense. Then right on half time Lukaku surged past Per Meresacker down the right flank and played in Naismith, who seemed to be in an offside position, but the Scotsman slotted home to make it 2-0 to give Everton a commanding lead.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Predictably Arsenal changed things up at half time as Olivier Giroud replaced Sanchez in attack and the Frenchman almost scored with his first touch. Chamberlain dinked a delightful ball towards the back post and Giroud smashed a volley across Tim Howard but the ball flew over the bar as a glorious chance went begging.

The Gunners were much better int he second half as the pressed to get back into the game. Giroud smashed an effort wide just after the hour mark and the Frenchman was thwarted by Howard soon after as the U.S. international saved well from a snapshot in the box.

Lukaku continued to be a threat on the break for Everton as bookings to Jack Wilshere, Mertesacker, Mathieu Flamini and Chambers signified Arsenal’s frustration with how things were playing out. Referee Kevin Friend kept a lid on things and Arsenal had the lions share of possession in the second half and that finally told as Ramsey tapped home Cazorla’s delicious set-up to the back post.

The Gunners then snatched a point in the final minute of normal time as Giroud scored to break the hearts of Everton’s fans in dramatic fashion. What a finish and what an incredible comeback from the Gunners.

LINEUPS 

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas (Atsu, 85′), Naismith, Pienaar (Osman, 10′), Lukaku (McGeady, 76′)

Goals: Coleman (19′), Naismith (44′)

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal, Flamini, Chamberlain (Campbell, 74′), Wilshere (Cazorla, 74′), Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis (Giroud, 45′)

Goals: Ramsey (83′), Giroud (90′)

CONMEBOL WCQ: Venezuela, Bolivia teetering on elimination

Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is always a challenge, and this World Cup cycle is no different.

With six teams currently separated by a mere five points under leaders Brazil, everything is left to play for as Round 14 hits South America.

[ MORE: Messi could face suspension from CONMEBOL ]

Here’s a look at what’s on the docket for Tuesday:

Bolivia vs. Argentina — 4 p.m. EDT

It wasn’t pretty at all, but La Albiceleste picked up a crucial three points against Chile, which could produce a morale lift for Argentina given their past struggles against the reigning Copa America holders.

Lionel Messi’s actions from the match could harm the Albiceleste though, with the Barcelona man reportedly facing sanctions from CONMEBOL for verbally abusing a linesman.

Meanwhile, Bolivia is in desperate need of a win in La Paz, and anything but three points could potentially end La Verde’s hopes of reaching Russia 2018.

Ecuador vs. Colombia — 5 p.m. EDT

It took a long time for Colombia to crack the Bolivia backline on Thursday but a late run from Juan Cuadrado helped set up the eventual winner from James Rodriguez, and kept Los Cafeteros in the top four.

Ecuador didn’t have the same fortunes though four days ago after falling to a very game Paraguay side. La Tricolor have gone winless in three of its last four World Cup qualifiers, leaving Gustavo Quinteros side with little margin of error against the Colombians.

Chile vs. Venezuela — 6 p.m. EDT

Chile’s qualifying struggles continued on Thursday after falling to La Albiceleste in a closely-contested match. Arturo Vidal’s six goals leave the Bayern Munich midfielder third in all of CONMEBOL this campaign, but the Chileans still sit on the outside looking in at the moment and in sixth place.

Venezuela is teetering on the edge of elimination, and a loss against Chile would all but seal their fate of missing out the World Cup. After reaching the quarterfinals at last summer’s Copa America Centenario, La Vinotinto have failed to replicate that form this qualifying campaign with just one win to show.

Top scorer Josef Martinez is no longer with Venezuela after suffering an injury in Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Peru, creating a major void in the side’s attack.

Brazil vs. Paraguay — 8:45 p.m. EDT

The Selecao continue to score at a lightning pace this qualifying campaign with 32 goals in the first 13 rounds of play. Despite conceding early to Uruguay on Thursday, Brazil responded emphatically with four goals, and most notably Paulinho‘s hat-trick.

Elsewhere, Paraguay kept itself within striking distance of the top five after its 2-1 win over Ecuador. The side is just two points behind fifth place Ecuador.

Peru vs. Uruguay — 10:15 p.m. EDT

Los Incas have not reached a World Cup since 1982, and although the team is just five points behind fifth, they need to pick up victories. Ricardo Gareca will be pleased with his side’s resiliency against Venezuela on Thursday, but more draws simply won’t do with only four rounds remaining after Tuesday.

Uruguay still sits in a solid second position after Thursday’s slip up against Brazil but another defeat could be potentially disastrous for La Celeste, who are just three points above sixth place Chile. However, Edinson Cavani’s nine goals leads all of CONMEBOL and Peru has allowed the third-most goals this campaign (22).

Ugly scene forces Ivory Coast-Senegal match to be abandoned

Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Monday’s international friendly between Ivory Coast and Senegal turned out to be anything but that when the match was interrupted towards the tail end.

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The fixture was abandoned with two minutes remaining in regulation after pitch invaders disrupted the the match by getting past security guards and began chasing after players from both sides.

The score was level at 1-1 in the 88th minute when the disruptions occurred, causing the referee to halt play at the Stade Sebastien Charlety in Paris.

One of the intruders even managed to tackle Senegalese defender Lamine Gassama (as shown in the picture to the right).

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane gave Senegal the lead minutes into the second stanza after he converted from the penalty spot, while Cyriac Gohi Bi leveled the score at one apiece just minutes later.

Messi could face CONMEBOL suspension for verbal abusing official

AP Photo/Eugenio Savio
1 Comment

Already facing some uncertainty with a depleted roster, Argentina could face a significantly greater challenge.

[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina starting XI vs. Bolivia ]

Barcelona star Lionel Messi could face suspension after reportedly verbally abusing linesman Marcelo Van Gasse during the second half of Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile.

UPDATED: Fox Sports Argentina is reporting that Messi will receive a two to four match suspension and will be effective for tomorrow’s match against Bolivia.

Messi was reported to CONMEBOL for yelling, “F*** off, your mother’s c***” at Van Gasse and refused to shake the official’s hand at the end of the match.

The officiating crew from the match didn’t initially include Messi’s rant in the post-match report, however, it was added on Monday and submitted to CONMEBOL.

The South American federation must now decide if and when it will punish Messi for his reported actions, and there is the potential that the world-class attacker could be suspended for Tuesday’s clash against Bolivia if the federation acts quickly.

There are several other scenarios though for CONMEBOL to action, including disregarding Messi’s verbal assault.

La Albiceleste currently sit third in World Cup qualifying on 22 points.

Arena speaks about USMNT turnaround, says “no secret formulas”

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Leave a comment

It’s only been one competitive match since Bruce Arena regained control of the U.S. Men’s National Team and there’s already been a noticeable difference in form.

[ MORE: Three keys for the USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

The former LA Galaxy manager wouldn’t have you believe that though following Friday night’s convincing 6-0 victory over Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

“It’s nothing I can write a book on,” Arena said about his team’s turnaround in form against Honduras. “You have a sense of your group, and you go about doing your business. There’s no secret formulas to this stuff. Work together, take ownership in what you’re doing, treat them like responsible professional athletes, and you get on with your business.

He added, “They want to be successful. They want to play in a World Cup. Is that a recipe for success? I don’t know. I’m sure Honduras wants to play in a World Cup too.”

Arena, who took over for Jurgen Klinsmann following the U.S.’ collapse during the first two matches of the Hexagonal, is unbeaten in his first three games in charge since getting his job back with the Stars and Stripes.

Although there has been a considerable turnaround in the way the USMNT has performed in the first three matches of 2017, Arena wouldn’t stoop to comparing his style to that of Klinsmann.

“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said. “I’m not taking a survey [of the players]. I know it’s different. We lose tomorrow, there will be articles written that, ‘This a—— is letting these guys run loose.'”

“I have spent no time on the past. There’s nothing I can do about it. I kind of have a sense about things, but there’s no point in me spending time investigating what went on in the past. The idea was to get it going the right way from the start.”

Arena’s next test with the U.S. will be on Tuesday when the Yanks travel to Panama City to take on Panama.