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EPL: El Ghazi winner damages Everton’s European quest

A late strike from Anwar El Ghazi saw Aston Villa beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday night to deliver a significant blow to the hosts’ European hopes.

The result means the Merseyside club remain two points off sixth-placed rivals Liverpool on 52 in the race for Europa League football with five games to go.

For Villa, the result sees the Birmingham side leapfrog Arsenal and Leeds into ninth on 48 points.

Villa began brightly and broke the deadlock in the 13th minute. Mason Holgate was caught dithering on the ball and Ollie Watkins capitalised before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner through the legs of Jordan Pickford for his 15th goal of the season.
Ollie Watkins
After Watkins saw a close-range shot saved by Pickford moments later, Everton levelled with their first corner of the evening in the 20th minute. Lucas Digne’s excellent whipped ball to the far post was met by Calvert-Lewin, who evaded Ross Barkley to nod home his 20th goal of the campaign.
The half was packed with goalscoring opportunities as defending was scarcely seen. Emiliano Martinez denied a Calvert-Lewin diving header in the 24th minute before a Pickford save stopped Watkins prior to El Ghazi smashing an effort off the crossbar. Barkley hit the post against his old club in the 205th meeting between the two sides, in the 36th minute and Watkins saw his low strike inside the box deflect narrowly wide shortly before the break.
Richarlison missed a great chance to put Everton ahead in the 55th minute when he latched onto a long ball and dragged his low shot well wide of Martinez’s left post, but ultimately the second half turned into a slightly drab affair as the game got increasingly scrappy.
But Villa clinched it ten minutes from time thanks to El Ghazi, who picked up the ball on the edge of the box on the counter-attack and expertly curled his strike into the top corner beyond Pickford for his ninth goal of the season.
Everton v Aston Villa
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