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Everton have secured a monumental three points in the fight to stay in the Premier League after a stunning performance at the Amex Stadium. The Toffees put in their best performance of the season as they ran out 5-1 winners over Brighton, who came into the game in high spirits after their last-gasp win over Manchester United on Thursday night.
The result is one that no one could have possibly seen coming. Going into the match, Everton were winless in seven fixtures and hadn’t won away from Goodison Park since the beginning of October when they defeated Southampton 2-1.
It’s a result that lifts them out of the relegation zone with three games to play and Sean Dyche can now look forward to two home games in their final three fixtures with more points almost certainly still needed. For Brighton, the loss has put a huge dent in their hopes for Champions League qualification, especially after other results went their way this weekend.
A night to remember
The damage was all done in the first half of the match at the Amex Stadium. In fact, the home side were playing catchup from minute one after Dominic Calvert-Lewin teed up Abdoulaye Doucouré for a tap-in after just 30 seconds.
The goal seemed to breathe a whole new level of confidence into the Everton team that they have been sorely lacking in recent weeks and they counter-attacked superbly all evening. After 30 minutes, Doucouré scored his and Everton’s second goal of the night with a beautifully placed volley and the away side got their third goal five minutes later when goalkeeper, Jason Steele, turned a Dwight McNeil cross into his own net.
Two for Everton, two for Abdoulaye Doucouré 😮💨
The midfielder has doubled the Blues' advantage in a crucial game! pic.twitter.com/5xylwPnYOV
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2023
Roberto de Zerbi made four changes at half time and his side were certainly better after the break. Jordan Pickford made a series of superb saves, while Alexis Mac Allister rattled the crossbar with a header from close range. Incredibly, though, it was Everton who scored the fourth goal of the evening when McNeil rounded Steele before running the ball into the empty net.
Brighton finally scored after the 80th minute when a Mitoma shot bounced off the post, and then bounced off Mac Allister’s back past Jordan Pickford. It was too little, too late, however, and the Toffees put the cherry on top of the cake when McNeil, who was the man of the match, scored their 5th goal in added time.
A massive confidence boost
Speaking after the game, McNeil spoke about what he felt a victory of this manner could do for the team ahead of the final three games of the season. He said:
“We started on the front foot, we had a game plan and we stuck to it. We were all brilliant today and we deserved the three points. We started off so well, couldn’t have got off to a better start. It’s a credit to the lads, we’ve been in a difficult position this year. Now we’ve just got to build on this game for the massive last three games ahead.
We have massive confidence now, this is about us kicking on as a team. We have a massive game on Sunday and then two massive games after that.”
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