Mason Holgate

VAR awards late penalty as Brighton tops Everton

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VAR awarded a penalty for the first time in Premier League play as Brighton and Hove Albion twice struck late to defeat Everton 3-2 in a back-and-forth affair at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The referee hadn’t spotted Michael Keane‘s foul against Aaron Connolly but the eye in the sky did, and Neal Maupay finished from the spot. Then Lucas Digne couldn’t prod a stoppage time cross over his goal, recording an own goal with Glenn Murray lurking behind him.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross also scored Brighton’s first PL free kick goal in a game of firsts, as the Seagulls leapfrog Everton and move 12th with 12 points.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a Richarlison-inspired own goal accounted for the Toffees’ offense, as Everton again failed to build league momentum and sits 16th with 10 points.


Three things we learned

1. Gross, point blank: We pointed out in the club power rankings that Pascal Gross is top five in big chances created and key passes despite Brighton’s status as a relegation scrapper. The German playmaker was given a chance by an Andre Gomes foul, and buried his free kick. Jordan Pickford should’ve done better but that doesn’t make the strike any less easy on the eyes. Brilliant, deserved stuff.

2. VAR does its job: The commentary team on the broadcast laid out the reasons to award a penalty to Brighton in a way the referee clearly couldn’t explain to Everton’s players. Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly in the box, and replays showed how difficult it would be to spot the foul from field level. Moments after Brighton went down, it was level through Maupay.

3. Everton’s inconsistent season continues with more bad Fortune: Don’t get us wrong — The Toffees bear the brunt of the blame for the loss, but had the better of the play. That means absolutely nothing when there are four big mistakes contributing to three conceded goals. Andre Gomes committed a needless foul and Jordan Pickford flubbed his chance to stop a free kick goal, then VAR awarded a penalty for a Keane foul, and Digne had no choice but to try and improbable clearance than turned into an own goal since poached Murray was running free behind him. A solid team goal from Brighton, but this feels more like an Everton loss than a Seagulls win (and Graham Potter won’t care one bit. A fine win).

Man of the Match: Either Dan Burn or Dale Stephens, and we’ll use the former’s hockey assist on the winner to nod to Burn.


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Brighton needed less than a quarter of an hour to take the lead, a needless Andre Gomes foul setting up Gross for a free kick.

The German midfielder drove his shot over the wall, and Jordan Pickford as slow to react. The goal looked great, but the keep will want it back.

Zonal marking did little for Brighton on a poorly-defended corner kick, and VAR upheld Richarlison’s near post header in the 20th minute as it went off Webster for an own goal.

Richarlison made a terrific move down the right to set up two players for a cutback, but flubbed his pass.

Gross had the ball in the goal off a Davy Propper cross, but was offside.

Calvert-Lewin put Everton back in front off an inch-perfect through ball from Mason Holgate, but VAR quickly gave Brighton a chance to level from the spot.

Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly, who left the match for Murray before the spot kick. Maupay slotted past Pickford for 2-2 in the 80th minute.

That wasn’t the end of it, as Burn played Leandro Trossard into the box and the Belgian’s cross was pushed behind an equal parts stranded and indecisive Pickford for an o.g.

FA to investigate Firmino, Holgate incident

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It doesn’t get any more Merseyside than this…

The English FA will be looking into an incident from Friday’s derby between Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup third round — which resulted in a 2-1 Reds victory — after a spat between Roberto Firmino and Mason Holgate escalated in the first half.

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Holgate was seen shoving the Brazilian attacker into the stands after the two had a clash of words, prompting match referee Bobby Madley to submit a report to the FA.

“The FA can confirm that referee Bobby Madley was made aware of an allegation during the Liverpool versus Everton game at Anfield last night and has subsequently reported this to The FA, which will now begin making enquiries into the matter.”

FA investigating potential racial incident involving Firmino, Holgate

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LIVERPOOL, England (AP) Liverpool says the club will cooperate with soccer authorities following a confrontation between striker Roberto Firmino and Everton opponent Mason Holgate during the Merseyside derby match on Friday.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man United advance thanks to late winners ]

Holgate angrily remonstrated with the referee, Bobby Madley, after being verbally abused by Firmino toward the end of the first half of the third-round match in the FA Cup at Anfield.

“The club and player will fully co-operate with the relevant authorities to ensure the facts are established in a thorough manner, if deemed necessary or requested,” Liverpool said. “While that process is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment.”

Asked whether Holgate accused Firmino of using a racist term, Everton manager Sam Allardyce said, “I’m telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what exactly happened and what didn’t happen.”

“Whatever happens (outside football),” Allardyce added, “has to be dealt with the authorities.”

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Allardyce didn’t want to discuss if he had spoken to Holgate about the incident.

“I’ve left it with the director of football (Steve Walsh) today,” he said. “I said to sort that out.”

The incident was sparked by Holgate shoving Firmino into — and over — the advertising boards surrounding the field in the 40th minute. The Brazil striker vaulted back onto the playing surface and sprinted toward Holgate, swearing in Portuguese. Referee Bobby Madley stepped between them to intervene.

Holgate then became aggrieved, and appeared to complain to Madley. Madley spoke to his the fourth official, before play continued.

[ MORE: Klopp hails Van Dijk’s “dream” debut, Reds’ fighting spirit ]

The incident will be included in the match report, which will go to the Football Association. The FA could then seek observations from both teams.

Everton hasn’t commented on the issue beyond Allardyce’s remarks.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he thought Madley and the fourth official were discussing whether to take action against Holgate for the original push on Firmino.

Klopp then said: “I had information that something happened … but I can’t say anything about it.”

Watch Live: Everton vs. Manchester City (Lineups & Live Stream)

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Closing the gap is the name of the game as Manchester City visits Everton live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Manchester City sits fifth in the Premier League table, two points behind both Liverpool and Arsenal. A win today would move them back into a Champions League place, while it would also close the gap on leaders Chelsea to seven points as City looks to just keep within arms length.

Watch Live: Everton vs. Manchester City live online at NBCSports.com

Pep Guardiola is without the suspended Fernandinho, who misses the second of his four-match red card suspension for a second sending off this season. They are also without new signing Gabriel Jesus, whose paperwork has not yet been completed by the FA for his registration due to a delay while the organization completes its due diligence regarding his third-party ownership at his last club Palmeiras.

Meanwhile, Everton has new signing Morgan Schneiderlin on the bench, set to make his debut in front of the home fans should he be needed. Joel Robles gets his fourth straight start in place of the dropped Maarten Stekelenburg, while captain Phil Jagielka remains on the bench after his struggles with discipline have forced manager Ronald Koeman to replace him with 20-year-old Mason Holgate.

Manchester City has won two of its last three visits to Goodison Park, and are unbeaten in their last seven in this fixture. Guardiola’s style has seen City as the only Premier League club to hold over 50% possession in all 20 of its league matches this season.

LINEUPS

Everton: Robles; Coleman, Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines; Barry, Barkley, Davies; Lukaku, Mirallas.
Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Lennon, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Valencia, Lookman.

Manchester City: Bravo, Clichy, Otamendi, Stones, Sagna, Zabaleta, Yaya Toure, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero.
Subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Navas, Delph, Sane, Iheanacho, Garcia.

New deals for Everton trio Baines, Barry, Holgate

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Everton is coming off a big win over Arsenal, and building on the good vibes by announcing new contracts for three Toffees.

Seemingly ageless Gareth Barry — he’s 35 — joins playmaking defender Leighton Baines and young gun Mason Holgate in committing their futures to Goodison Park.

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Barry is now committed through the 2017-18 season, giving him a chance to catch Ryan Giggs‘ record for Premier League appearances. Barry has 609 and sits 23 behind Giggs. Everton has 22 matches left in this season.

Baines is no spring chicken, either. The 32-year-old left-footed back has made 362 appearances in the Premier League, the first 72 with Wigan Athletic. He has 29 goals and 54 assists, and will stay at Goodison through the 2018-19 season.

Holgate, 2o, has just four Premier League appearances and is widely-tipped as a critical part of the club’s future at center back. He’s played twice at CB and twice at right back this season. His new deal stretches into June 2021.

Follow @NicholasMendola