Anwar El Ghazi’s superb second-half strike secured victory for Aston Villa and dealt a significant blow to Everton’s hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League.
El Ghazi curled home from the edge of the box with 10 minutes remaining to secure Villa only their third win in their last 11 league games.
Everton had started the day six points off the top four but this defeat, coupled with a win for Chelsea, means they are now nine points adrift of Thomas Tuchel’s side.
El Ghazi’s winner was the only highlight of a relatively flat second half that failed to build on a pulsating first.
Ollie Watkins opened the scoring when he pounced on a mistake by Mason Holgate before slotting past Jordan Pickford.
However, Everton hit back soon after when Dominic Calvert-Lewin powered home a header following a corner.
Home keeper Pickford then twice denied Watkins with excellent saves to keep Villa at bay, while ex-Everton midfielder Ross Barkley struck the post with a low effort from range.
But despite Pickford’s best efforts Villa secured the three points when El Ghazi struck late on
Pickford heroics can’t save Everton
To have still been in the conversation for a top-four finish at this stage of the season is impressive for Everton, but the Toffees will perhaps wonder what might have been if their home form had been just marginally better than it is.
The Toffees have collected just 19 points from home 17 matches, with seven of those games ending in defeat.
After such an impressive win at Arsenal last time out, they never really got going against a Villa side that looked hungrier for the victory from the outset.
Indeed, the visitors could have won by a bigger margin but for some excellent saves by Pickford.
He came off his line quickly to prevent Watkins from adding a second not long after opening the scoring, and produced a stunning save to somehow deny the striker again at the back post.
It was arguably Pickford’s best performance of the season and bodes well for England with the European Championships starting in just over a month.
More to follow.
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- 21André GomesSubstituted forDelphat 70′minutes
- 17IwobiSubstituted forBernardat 76′minutes
- 10G SigurdssonSubstituted forKingat 82′minutes
- 31Neves Virgínia
- 6Douglas LuizBooked at 41mins
- 15TraoréSubstituted forRamseyat 88′minutes
- 21El GhaziBooked at 90minsSubstituted forDavisat 90+2′minutes
- 27El Mohamady
Match ends, Everton 1, Aston Villa 2.
Second Half ends, Everton 1, Aston Villa 2.
Attempt blocked. Lucas Digne (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).
Fabian Delph (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Keinan Davis replaces Anwar El Ghazi.
Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa).
Allan (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Jacob Ramsey replaces Bertrand Traoré.
Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).
Jordan Pickford (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ross Barkley (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Joshua King (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Fabian Delph.
Attempt missed. Bertrand Traoré (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by John McGinn.
Substitution, Everton. Joshua King replaces Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Goal! Everton 1, Aston Villa 2. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Bertrand Traoré.
Attempt missed. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Bernard.
Offside, Aston Villa. Tyrone Mings tries a through ball, but Bertrand Traoré is caught offside.