Everton’s Second-half goals dent Chelsea’s top-four hopes

Everton ended a two-month wait for a home league win as a spirited second-half display secured a 2-0 victory that dented Chelsea’s top-four hopes at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The Toffees had to withstand a first-half Chelsea barrage before goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson secured a first win against a top-six side in more than two years for Marco Silva’s team.

Chelsea struck the post and had no fewer than 10 attempts on goal in a one-sided first half but were left stunned as a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end on Merseyside.

The result means Maurizio Sarri’s side miss the chance to move level with fourth-place Arsenal, while Everton climb to 11th after halting a miserable run of just one win in their last eight leagues matches at home.

Chelsea flew out of the traps and could have scored three times inside the opening seven minutes. Eden Hazard weaved into the area and nearly punished Everton’s hesitancy to make a challenge, forcing Jordan Pickford into a save with a low strike at the near post.

A minute later the post came to Everton’s rescue, Hazard striking the woodwork after cutting in off the flank, and it was a matter of seconds before Pickford was called upon again, this time to deny Gonzalo Higuain from close range before Michael Keane hacked the ball from off the goal-line.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin blazed Everton’s first attempt over on 16 minutes but Chelsea remained the dominant attacking threat, Jorginho playing a lovely one-two with Higuain on the edge of the hosts’ area before firing a low drive straight at Pickford.

Calvert Lewin spurned Everton best chance of the half on 37 minutes, sending a free header wide of the target after Sigurdsson’s free-kick found him unmarked in the Chelsea area.

But Chelsea had the final word before the interval, Pedro trickling a shot inches wide from the edge of the area after fending off three Everton defenders, before the Spain international found the back of the net from a narrow angle, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

Silva would have demanded a response after such an abject first-half display, and that was exactly what he got as a wicked Calvert-Lewin cross narrowly evaded Bernard and Andre Gomes’ drive drew Kepa Arrizabalaga into action within two minutes of the restart.

A rejuvenated Everton soon took the lead, Richarlison reacting quickest to head a rebound into the roof of the Chelsea net after Kepa failed to parry a Calvert-Lewin header away from danger.

Marcos Alonso fired into the side-netting and Higuain drew another fine stop from Pickford as Chelsea rallied, but a clumsy trip from Alonso on Richarlison in the area gifted Everton the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot.

Sigurdsson’s initial effort from 12 yards was saved by Kepa but, as he did with the first goal, the Chelsea goalkeeper could only parry the ball back into danger, and the Iceland international made no mistake in converting the rebound as Everton brought that winning feeling back to Goodison.

Everton resume their league campaign after the international break away at West Ham on Saturday, March 30 (5.30pm), while Chelsea travel to Cardiff the following day on Sunday, (2.05pm).

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