Match report: Villa 1-3 Everton
Rudy Gestede goal not enough.
1st Mar 2016
Match report: Villa 1-3 Everton


A fine 80th-minute goal from sub Rudy Gestede gave home supporters something to cheer but it was another night of disappointment for the Villa faithful.

By the time the Benin international headed home Jordan Veretout's cross, Remi Garde's men were three-down to a highly efficient Everton outfit.

South American defender Ramiro Funes Mori opened the scoring with a fifth-minute header, Aaaron Lennon doubled the lead in the 29th minute and Romelu Lukaku added a third on the hour mark to leave Villa well beaten.

Even after Gestede's consolation goal, the visitors almost scored again in stoppage time, Brad Guzan doing well to keep out a Funes Mori's close-range effort.

The opening goal arrived just as Villa appeared to have averted a dangerous situation, Aly Cissokho reacting smartly to whip the ball off Romelu Lukaku's toes in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area.

Cissokho's clearance took the ball out for a corner, and when Kevin Mirallas delivered the flag kick from the left, the unmarked Funes Mori headed firmly past a helpless Guzan.

It was a bitter blow and one which left Villa chasing shadows for a while before Ciaran Clark became the game's first booking for a foul on Mirallas.

By the 27th minute Clark had been joined in the book by Idrissa Gana, for another foul, and by Leandro Bacuna for handball, although the home side had begun to assert themselves.

When Bacuna threaded a fine through ball deep into the Everton half, Funes Mori's clearance ricocheted off Gabby Agbonlahor and forced Joel Robles into a reflex save, while the keeper also made a brilliant diving save to tip away Ashley Westwood's fierce drive following Bacuna's square pass.

Bacuna took the resulting corner, and his outswinging kick from the right initially seemed to pose no danger - until skipper Micah Richards launched himself for a spectacular right-foot volley which wasn't far over.

Then Bacuna cut inside from the left for a low drive which was pushed away by the keeper - only for the Merseysiders to double their lead with a breakaway goal a minute later.

Ross Barkley's pass sent Mirallas racing down the left, and his low cross was sidefooted home by Lennon and Villa defenders desperately attempted to get back and retrieve the situation.

In the next home attack, Cissoko cut inside from the left to unleash an angled drive which was well held by Robles, although Everton almost scored again when Joleon Lescott cleared from the goalmouth following a mix-up in the home defence.






But Villa were desperately unlucky in the 43rd minute when Cissokho made a determined run down the left and produced a fine cross, Agbonlahor just failing to make contact with an attempted close-range header.

After Lukaku had been cautioned for putting his arm across Clark's face, Lescott was close when his angled effort on the stroke of half-time drifted beyond Robles and just beyond the far post.

Sadly, the momentum was not maintained after the interval, and on the hour Everton increased their lead.

Lukaku's powerful header from Lennon's cross was brilliantly tipped away by Guzan, but when Villa were unable to clear the corner, Funes Mori crossed from the right and this time Lukaku was perfectly positioned to divert the ball into the net from close range.

Villa had been largely lethargic since half-time, but the blow of going further behind briefly galvanised them, with Westwood twice going close in the space of a couple of minutes.

The midfielder's first shot deflected off Phil Jagielka for a corner, while the second was just wide.

Gana also tried his luck, but his volley from the edge of the area after Veretout's corner had been partially cleared, was well wide of the mark.

Just when home supporters were starting to give up hope of seeing a home goal, however, it arrived 10 minutes from the end.

Alan Hutton played the ball back into Veretout's path, and when the French midfielder crossed invitingly from the right, Gestede climbed above his marker to plant a fine angled header past Robles and into the corner of the net.

That gave Villa renewed belief, both Bacuna and Gestede having shots blocked before Jordan Ayew's low drive was turned away by the diving Robles.

VILLA: Guzan; Richards, Lescott, Clark; Hutton, Bacuna, Gana, Westwood (Veretout 71), Cissokho; Agbonlahor (Gestede 64), Ayew. Unused subs: Bunn, Okore, Sinclair, Gil, Lyden.

EVERTON: Robles; Coleman (Stones 73), Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo; Lennon, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas (Niasse 88); Barkley; Lukaku. Unused subs: Howard, Baines, Kone, Deulofeu, Osman.



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