Leeds tops Everton on Raphinha goal, Meslier magic
Everton - Leeds: A day full of thrills and chances saw Raphinha’s late goal the only breakthrough as Leeds United beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Brazilian’s first Premier League goal was a pretty one that came off a Jack Harrison pass (The ex-NYCFC playmaker was quite good, too).
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It spurred Marcelo Bielsa’s men to a first win in four outings, Leeds moving 11th with 14 points on a clean sheet from 8-save man Illan Meslier.
Everton fails to move back into the top four with the loss, its 16 points two behind fourth-place Leicester.
Everton - Leeds was a treat.
Three things we learned from Everton - Leeds
1. Raphinha’s memorable day: Marcelo Bielsa bought Raphinha from Stade Rennais for over $20 million this Fall and the Brazilian had shown flashes this season, but this was his most complete day. While countryman Richarlison was brilliant but unable to score for Everton, Raphinha’s top-class day included a late breakthrough and a first Premier League goal. Ben Godfrey gave the 23-year-old Brazilian just a moment’s hesitation in marking atop the box, and Raphinha took that time and space to lash a low shot inside the near post for a 78th-minute lead.
2. Allan is special: Everton’s 29-year-old Brazilian midfielder is a force, and his familiarity with Carlo Ancelotti’s system from the duo’s time together at Napoli has Allan looking mighty comfortable. We’re seeing more trickery out of him and more vision going forward, with two key passes to go with his typical efficiency in winning duels in the heart of the park. This was a big day for Brazilians at Goodison.
3. Leeds is a blast: Marcelo Bielsa’s men continue to be as entertaining as any in the league. We’re mostly being positive and addressing their forward-thinking play and decent jersey selection, but we’re also talking about the chances they allow on a weekly basis. There are so many opportunities for goals at both ends of the pitch when Leeds hits the pitch.
Man of the Match: Illan Meslier
The young French goalkeeper made eight saves including three on Richarlison to keep Leeds alive for the eventual winner. His counterpart Pickford also had a strong game, with Richarlison, Raphinha, Jack Harrison, and Allan the stars amongst the field players.
Everton - Leeds recap
Illan Meslier made a fine stop on Abdoulaye Ducoure in the seventh minute, getting low to slap away a shot after a Tom Davies cross.
Leeds had a moment of equal danger as Raphinha, lively early, passed to a sliding Jack Harrison who missed wide from close range.
James Rodriguez nearly had another world-class highlight-reel goal when he scooped a diagonal ball off the end line and beat Meslier, but the flag was up and rightly so.
Leeds had the next exciting series of chances, Raphinha’s header well-saved by Pickford before Harrison sees a shot cleared off the line.
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Meslier made a fine stop on Mason Holgate off a dangerous 39th-minute chance, then made a strong diving stop on Richarlison in the 42nd.
This was a thriller. Richarlison had a goal off a corner kick ruled off for Ben Godfrey’s offside, then Harrison headed off the post before Bamford missed the rebound wide of the near post. Still 0-0, somehow.
Harrison found Raphinha outside the 18 and the Brazilian provided the opener, Leeds nearly taking a 2-0 lead when Pickford made a great save on Helder Costa deep in stoppage.