Everton scored twice in the second half thanks to a piece of Brilliance from Richarlison and the late opportunism of Dominic Calvert-Lewin to claim a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday and move up to seventh in the Premier League.
After Christian Benteke cancelled out Bernard’s opener with his first Goal for The Palace since April, Brazilian Richarlison recovered the ball midway through the box and hit an unstoppable shot for his league goal of the season.
Although Palace started promisingly, with Patrick van Aanholt’s scruffy shot hitting the post, Everton went ahead after 18 minutes when Theo Walcott created the space to deliver a perfect cross for Bernard’s controlled volley.
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It was Walcott’s last significant contribution as he left soon with a potted knee to be replaced by Djibril Sidibe, but only after a curious episode saw the Frenchman briefly disappear into the tunnel, apparently looking for a second sock.
The visitors, who have not won since Boxing Day, struggled to cope with Richarlison’s move and forced their way back into discord when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford somehow allowed benteke’s shot to roll under his body in the 51st to end a drought goal that had lasted 1,476 minutes.
Seven minutes later, Richarlison scored while Pickford saved from close range from Benteke, who also hit the post, before Calvert-Lewin put the game past Palace in the 88th when he reacted the quickest to the net after Richarlison’s header hit the bar.
Everton have 36 points in 26 games, one point behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who currently occupy the Europa League qualifying spot, and five points behind Chelsea in fourth, bringing Champions League football next season.
“The best thing today is the result, the performance was not so good,” said Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose team played one more game than their rivals for the European places.
“It was a tough game, a lot of interruptions. We have not been able to maintain the intensity. Richarlison made a fantastic counterattack and we won for that reason.
“Before the [winter] pause, three points is important. We know they have that quality, Richarlison is a fantastic player on the counter-attack, he used that situation very well.”
The Italian, who said the bizarre Incident in Sidibe was a “new experience for me”, stressed that qualification for Europe was always the club’s goal. “Since my arrival, the team has done a fantastic job, now we have the opportunity to think about the Europa League.”
Palace are in 14th place with 30 points in 26 games, six points above the relegation zone, and have not kept a clean sheet in 10 league games with coach Roy Hodgson describing their latest defeat as cruel.
“We know what we have to do. When we moved the ball quickly, we asked questions and we were about to get more than one goal. The result colors any kind of judgment, so it’s hard to see the game as clear as you like.”