Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
Cardiff 0-3 Everton: Gylfi Sigurdsson relieves pressure on Marco Silva with convincing win
Report and highlights as Dominic Calvert-Lewin also nets
Last Updated: 26/02/19 11:47pm
Gylfi Sigurdsson relieved the pressure on Marco Silva with a goal in each half in Everton's 3-0 win at Cardiff.
Coming into the game on a run of one win in six, Everton looked nervous but still had the better of the first half and snatched the lead four minutes before the break when Sigurdsson swept home Seamus Coleman's cut-back from the right following a throw-in to become the Premier League's highest-scoring Icelander.
Sigurdsson smashed in another midway through the second half once Bernard's shot had been parried into his path. The goal seemed to relax Everton, and they controlled the rest of the game in some style.
Cardiff did carve out several half-chances but failed to register a single shot on target across the 90 minutes, while Calvert-Lewin netted an injury-time third for Everton on the break to seal a comprehensive and welcome win for Marco Silva ahead of a Merseyside derby showdown with Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday from 4pm.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Manga (4), Bamba (6), Morrison (6), Bennett (5), Mendez-Laing (6), Bacuna (5), Gunnarsson (5), Hoilett (4), Zohore (6), Reid (5).
Subs: Paterson (6), Murphy (5), Ward (n/a).
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (7), Jagielka (6), Keane (7), Digne (7), Schneiderlin (6), Gueye (7), Walcott (7), Sigurdsson (8), Richarlison (5), Calvert-Lewin (7)
Subs: Bernard (7), Lookman (n/a), Gomes (n/a).
Man of the match: Gylfi Sigurdsson
The game burst into life in the early stages with Cardiff close to a first-minute opener when Phil Jagielka's slip allowed Kenneth Zohore to cross for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing at the far post, but Lucas Digne's smart block put the ball behind before he could reach it.
Zohore went for goal himself with Cardiff's next chance from Gunnarsson's lob into the box, chesting the ball down but firing into the side netting under pressure from Michael Keane.
Everton had gone close through a dipping Theo Walcott volley from the angle but took a half-time lead four minutes before the break. When Cardiff switched off from a throw-in, Morgan Schneiderlin slid Coleman away down the right and he cut the ball back to Sigurdsson, who slotted the ball into the far corner.
Both sides made five changes after losing their previous game to Watford.
Cardiff dropped Joe Ralls and Harry Arter, recalling Kenneth Zohore and Bobby Reid.
Everton left Andre Gomes on the bench and gave Dominic Calvert-Lewin a start in attack.
After half-time Cardiff again came close when Bruno Ecuele Manga spotted Zohore playing on the shoulder of Keane and sent him racing onto his long ball forward. He cut inside from the left but with Bobby Reid and Mendez-Laing in support, Jagielka positioned himself between both and cleared before either could turn in an equaliser.
Instead Everton doubled their advantage within minutes. Richarlison cut a frustrated figure as he trudged off for Bernard, but the substitute vindicated Silva's decision to introduce him almost immediately by using some quick feet to beat Manga before seeing his shot parried by Neil Etheridge into Sigurdsson's path, from which the midfielder's powerful drive left the goalkeeper no chance as it flew into the roof of the net.
A sloppy Cardiff performance was booed off at full-time but not before Everton had put the cherry on a considerable cake when Idrissa Gueye took advantage of some lax defending to slide through Calvert-Lewin, and despite Etheridge's save his powerful drive flew into the bottom corner.
Neil Warnock: "I didn't think it was bad if I'm honest, it was just individual errors and it took someone who cost £50m to punish us. He took his two goals well but it was mistakes from us and that's what happens at this level, you get punished. That's what happened tonight.
Marco Silva: "We deserved three points, we were in command of the whole match, we knew they were strong from set pieces, long throws and winning the second ball, but we did well. In the first minute they had a moment but after that we controlled the match."
- Cardiff have won just one of their last six home league games (D1 L4), after winning four of the five before that (L1).
- Everton have done the league double over Cardiff for the first time since 1928-29.
- Cardiff have never won a midweek Premier League game (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), drawing three and losing seven. They've scored just two goals in those 10 games and have conceded at least twice in each defeat.
- Cardiff are the only side to fail to direct a single shot on target in more than one home Premier League game this season, doing so against Everton and against Huddersfield in January.
- Everton scored with their first two shots on target and with three of their four shots on target overall in the game.
- Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in more Premier League goals in games played in Wales than any other player (35 - 14 goals, 21 assists in 68 appearances).
- Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson is now the Premier League's outright top-scoring Icelandic player with 57 goals, eclipsing Eidur Gudjohnsen's haul of 55.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored 15 Premier League goals for Everton since the start of the 2017-18 season, five more than any other player.
Man of the match - Gylfi Sigurdsson
This was a special night for Everton's number 10 when he became the Premier League's all-time top-scoring Icelander, beating Eidur Gudjohnsen's record of 55 goals which has stood for almost nine years.
In a game lacking quality he had more shots on target (2) than anyone else on the pitch, and both ended up as smart finishes which Neil Etheridge could do little about.
With one goal in his previous 10 games, this double could not have set up this weekend's showdown with Liverpool much better for the midfielder.
Cardiff face a tough test at Wolves at 3pm on Saturday, while Everton host Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm.