Report: Everton Beaten By Stoppage-Time Strike

Everton suffered a gut-wrenching stoppage-time defeat at Leicester City after home substitute Kelechi Iheanacho's decisive strike was ruled onside following a lengthy VAR check.

The Blues had been the better team until Jamie Vardy turned home to level with 22 minutes remaining after Richarlison had athletically headed the visitors in front on 23 minutes.

It was Iheanacho's cross-shot turned in by Vardy for the equaliser. The Nigerian then inflicted the cruellest of blows on Everton when he raced through and ignored a linesman's raised flag to steer the ball inside Jordan Pickford's right post. 

Everton's goal was the product of a fluid break from left to right, Alex Iwobi doing most of the leg work to transfer the ball to Djibril Sidibe thundering down the visitors’ right flank.

Richarlison made ground into the box before taking off to head the Frenchman’s arrowing delivery into the roof of Kasper Schmeichel’s net.

It was the South American’s 20th Everton goal on his 50th start for the Club and a reminder of why Goodison Park chiefs are moving to tie him to an extended contract.

If the speed and precision of Everton’s attack to break the deadlock caught the home team by surprise, then it shouldn’t have.

The Blues had pieced together something similar on eight minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson triggered the move with a pass to Lucas Digne, who got the return from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and flighted the ball deep for Sidibe.

His first touch was immaculate, setting up a shooting opportunity. Sidibe’s strike was true but always rising and screamed over goalkeeper Schmeichel’s bar.

Sigurdsson swooping on James Maddison’s careless touch inside three minutes served notice of Everton’s intent. Richarlison collected Sigurdsson’s subsequent pass and fed Calvert-Lewin, whose cross found the forward advancing into the box but unable to gather a dipping delivery.

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01:29 Sun 01 Dec 2019

SIGURDSSON ON NEED TO STICK TOGETHER AND STAY POSITIVE

Midfielder reflects on harsh 2-1 loss at Leicester.


Leicester thought for all the world they were on the cusp of equalising 12 minutes before half-time.

Ben Chilwell was first to react when the ball ran loose after Yerry Mina’s last-man challenge on striker Vardy.

Mason Holgate attempted to clear but made no contact on the ball, as England left-back Chilwell crashed to the turf.

Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot, which was the signal for VAR to get to work.

When the message was relayed to Scott to overturn his decision it was celebrated in the away end as if Everton had gone two up.

Tom Davies crashed into a challenge on Ricardo Pereira as Everton maintained a tempo which was disturbing usually fluent Leicester’s rhythm.

Ayoze Perez did escape into the box on 13 minutes but shot wide of the far post.

The Spaniard wriggled free again two minutes after his side had fallen behind. Just as Perez was drawing back his boot to shoot, Sidibe buffeted the former Newcastle player off balance.

Meantime, Mina had done his bit to deny Leicester, the Colombian standing his full 6ft 5in to head forward Maddison’s ferocious volley out of harm’s way.

It could have been even better for Everton at the break.

Sidibe’s punt down the right sent Calvert-Lewin haring into space. The forward gave Caglar Soyuncu the runaround to progress into the box.

When he unleashed a hard-struck drive, however, it smacked into Soyuncu’s fellow central defender Jonny Evans.

Youri Tielemans did enough to divert Sigurdsson’s effort behind after Richarlison had skipped past Soyuncu to cross following the break.

Michael Keane was too high with his header from Lucas Digne’s resultant corner.

Digne on dead-ball duties again sixty seconds later, Richarlison the man connecting but to the same effect as Keane before him.

All the while, Pickford had been relatively untroubled. That changed on 54 minutes.

Home right-back Pereira travelled into the box and forced Pickford down to his right to save, Sidibe instantly on the scene to hammer clear.

Twice Sidibe sent over balls which narrowly missed back-post runners – Calvert-Lewin first, then Richarlison.

Indeed, Sidibe was in his element operating as a wing-back, time and again careering forward and being fed by Iwobi.

Iwobi, too, was terrific, running with the ball and using it intelligently. His dipping left-wing delivery just past the hour found Richarlison, who saw it late and nodded wide.

Leicester introduced Iheanacho for Perez and within minutes the change had a telling impact.

The African received a pass from Wilfried Ndidi and fired across goal for the alert Vardy to turn in at the far post.

Maddison touched Vardy’s drilled delivery goalwards but directly at Pickford as Leicester sought to turn the game on its head.

Vardy was close to doubling his own tally for the day when he headed over from Tielemans’ delivery.

Moise Kean came on and promptly rippled the side netting from 20 yards, Schmeichel casually waving the ball past his post.

Both teams were going for it now. Tielemans took aim from distance but sent his effort skipping past Pickford's right post.

Iheanacho, though, would find his range in the final knockings to win the game for Leicester.

 

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