Everton 3-0 Fulham: Toffees dominate second half

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  • Everton wins its 2nd of the year
  • Fulham concedes two again
  • The Whites remain without a win at Goodison Park

The two sides traded small blows in the first 45 minutes, but a dominating second half saw Everton skate past a missed penalty and defend home field against Fulham for a 2-0 win on goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun.

Sigurdsson missed a spot-kick soon after the break, but he would atone with the game’s first goal minutes later, while the Fulham defense broke down to allow Everton in for a second.

As both teams looked to feel out the game, Fulham was forced into a very early change as Timothy Fosu-Mensah went down holding his right arm, in lots of pain, and the Manchester United loanee was withdrawn for Cyrus Christie just seven minutes in.

Despite the early change, Fulham had the game’s first half-chance with Alexander Mitrovic blazing over from long-range. Everton responded with a set-piece opportunity on 15 minutes, but Marcus Bettinelli was there to parry a short-range pop and the offside flag went up. Theo Walcott had a long-range effort deflected on 19 minutes but Bettinelli ranged to his right to make the stop.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Fulham struggled to produce its usual brand of possessional play early on, and the frustration manifested in persistent fouling. The home fans at Goodison Park begged for a yellow card to be shown, and it eventually came for substitute Christie in the 29th minute.

The visitors finally began to build onto the ball as halftime neared, and they had a monstrous chance on 41 minutes. Jean-Michael Seri found an opening through the middle and poked it left for young Ryan Sessegnon with the Whites suddenly seeing three attackers free on net. Sessegnon took the shot from a tight angle, and it rang off the crossbar and deflected back out to the other side of the pitch.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After the break, Everton came close to its first goal of the season from a corner, but with Richarlison at the far post, the ball bounced a bit high in front of him, and the Brazilian missed with his awkwardly acrobatic attempt to make contact. Everton’s chance came minutes later on a breakaway for Sigurdsson, and despite Bettinelli coming to collect under little pressure, a penalty was given by the assistant referee for a slight shove in the back from Denis Odoi chasing. The referee had initially waved away the penalty claims, but sheepishly gave it once the assistant waved his flag. Unfortunately for the Toffees, the Icelandic playmaker looped a poor penalty effort off the crossbar and the scoreline remained unblemished.

Sigurdsson would atone minutes later, however, as he unlocked the back line with a ball for Jonjoe Kenny, and while his cross was blocked out by Odoi, Sigurdsson was there to collect the loose ball and curl a fabulous effort into the far corner past a helpless Bettinelli.

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Fulham had a glorious chance to get back level on a three-on-one break, but a horrid first touch from Luciano Vietto ruined the opportunity, allowing Jordan Pickford to collect despite acres of space. That would loom large as the home side doubled its lead on 65 minutes, all too easily. Theo Walcott whipped in a cross past Americand defender Tim Ream, and Cenk Tosun somehow managed to earn 10 yards of separation from the rest of the Fulham defense for the easiest backdoor header of his life.

Sigurdsson added his second and Everton’s third with just a minute left in regulation as substitute Bernard had no trouble marauding down the left, and he cut back for Sigurdsson in all kinds of space at the top of the box for a powerful low finish.

All told, Everton finished with 19 shots, six of them on target, while Fulham failed to register even a single effort on net to trouble Pickford. The win pushes Everton up to 11th with nine points, while Fulham drops to 16th in a crowd with five points. Fulham also sports the league’s worst goals conceded total, up to 16 now with the trio from Everton.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mari to Arsenal; Defoe makes permanent Rangers move

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Arsenal are reportedly hours from adding a defender to Mikel Arteta‘s squad.

Flamengo’s Pablo Mari has reportedly arrived in London and set for a medical at Arsenal, Sky Sports reports. The 26-year-old Spaniard will join the North London side for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

It won’t be Mari’s first time signing for a Premier League side, however.

In 2016, the center-back signed with Manchester City, but never featured for the defending champions, instead making appearances for Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna on loan.


Jermaine Defoe is not returning to Bournemouth.

On Saturday, Rangers announced that Defoe signed a pre-contract to join Rangers on permanent basis in the summer.

The storied 37-year-old English striker has 20 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Scottish giants last January on a 18-month loan. Defoe’s new contract runs through the 2020-21 season, a one-year deal.

“It’s fantastic news,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s website. “It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”

“He is an incredible professional with the way he goes about his work on and off the pitch – he is a credit to himself and his family. And also on the pitch, which is the main thing. He is still contributing heavily – he is a major part of this group, this team and this squad and hopefully together we can go and share some success as I think he deserves that.”

This season, Defoe has scored 16 goals in 28 games.


Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, according to Sky Sports.

Carrasco, 26, wants to leave Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and is currently training in Belgium, ahead of a return to European play.

Carrasco has scored 24 goals in 52 appearances since making a move to China from Atletico Madrid in February 2018.


Norwich City are actively pursuing Danel Sinani, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Luxembourg winger is out of contract with Luxembourg side FC Dudelange this summer. If the parties involved can’t reach a deal this week,  the Canaries are reportedly ready to propose a pre-contract agreement.

Mourinho hints Spurs to sign Lo Celso permanently: ‘I think the boy is earning the decision’

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Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso is closer to permanently stay in North London than he is to return back to Sevilla.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints draw and force 4-th round FA Cup replay ]

The 23-year-old Argentine, who arrived at Spurs from Real Betis last summer on a season-long loan, experienced a rocky start in the Premier League. Lo Celso – with only 44 minutes of English top-flight playing time under his belt – suffered a hip injury with Argentina, ruling him out two months in the fall.

Since, the attacking midfielder has worked his way up Jose Mourinho’s pecking order, featuring heavily in the Portuguese’s scheme over the past few months. Most recently, on Saturday, Lo Celso displayed his well-balanced virtues in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Following the match, Mourinho addressed questions on whether or not his club is going to sign the midfielder on a permanent contract. Praiseworthy of Lo Celso’s learning abilities, Mourinho hopes the midfielder will be a part of the club’s long-term plans.

“It’s not an obligation, it’s an option,” Mourinho said of Lo Celso, who is reportedly available at reduced price of $35 million. “I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option.”

“Incredible evolution since I arrived,” he added. “Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks. But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”

With Christian Eriksen on the verge of departing the London side, Mourinho and company will have additional funds to land Lo Celso this winter before his price spikes in the summer.

Everything points to the creative midfielder having a future in London, but will Spurs brass follow suit and make it official soon?

Netherlands forward Rob Rensenbrink dies at age 72

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Rob Rensenbrink, the forward who was centimeters away from delivering the Netherlands a World Cup title in 1978, has died at age 72, the Dutch football association said Saturday.

“We have heard with sadness of the death of football legend Rob Rensenbrink,” the association said in a tweet.

Rensenbrink played most of his club football in Belgium with Club Brugge and Anderlecht, where his weaving runs earned him the nickname “Snake Man.” He also played briefly for the Portland Timbers in the United States in 1980.

He was a regular for the Netherlands national team in its period of dominance in the 1970s.

He played 46 times and scored 14 goals for the Dutch team known for its slick, position-swapping “total football.”

But he will always be best remembered for the goal he didn’t quite score in the 1978 World Cup final.

With the scores tied at 1-1 between the Netherlands and host Argentina and the seconds ticking away in injury time of the final in Buenos Aires, Rensenbrink’s shot hit the post. The match went to extra time and Argentina scored twice to win 3-1.

It was the second straight World Cup final defeat for the Netherlands, which has appeared in three finals and lost them all.

Rensenbrink was diagnosed with a muscle disease in 2012 and died as a result of the illness, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

Anderlecht said he died Friday night.

“Thanks for everything Robbie!” the Belgian club wrote on its website. “We will never forget you.”

Serie A roundup: Ilicic powers Atalanta in historic win over Torino (video)

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Atalanta’s historic and overpowering win over Torino highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Torino 0-7 Atalanta

Josip Ilicic scored a hat-trick, including a center-line strike, as Atalanta humiliated Torino 7-0 on Saturday, handing the hosts their worst home loss ever in Serie A play.

With only nine men on the field towards the end of the match for Turin-based side, Atalanta were able to capitalize, elevating their goal count to 57 goals in 21 games this season. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men, who are back in Champions League contention, lead the league in goals.

Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata, who scored a minute before the break, added to Ilicic’s first of three. A three-goal advantage after the first 45 minutes foreshadowed what Torino was going to encounter in the second half: more goals.

Eight minutes into the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s bout at the Olimpico di Torino, Ilicic quick-fired two more past an exposed Salvatore Sirigu.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Luis Muriel took the field for the visitors. And just six minutes after his first foot on the natural surface, the Colombian striker had a brace to his name.

“All we can do is apologize,” Torino coach Walter Mazzarri said. “In so many years of my career I had never had such a game.”

In fourth place with 38 points, Atalanta look to increase their seven-goal performances this season to three as they host struggling Genoa in a weeks time. Torino, on the other hand, meet AC Milan on Tuesday in the quarterfinal’s of the Coppa Italia.

Elsewhere

SPAL 1-3 Bologna

Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa