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Everton 2-0 Norwich: Andros Townsend penalty, Abdoulaye Doucoure strike condemn Canaries to another defeat

Match report and free match highlights as Andros Townsend scores penalty after Ozan Kabak's lazy challenge on Allan; Norwich improve after the break with Ben Gibson and Mathias Normann going close; Abdoulaye Doucoure adds second to see Everton into fifth place

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton's win against Norwich in the Premier League

Goals from Andros Townsend and Abdoulaye Doucoure saw Everton edge past Norwich 2-0 at Goodison Park, with the Canaries still without a Premier League point.

Rafa Benitez's side went into the game with Jordan Pickford back in goal, although they were still missing forwards Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, as well as captain Seamus Coleman.

But they took the lead in the highlight of a quiet first half. Former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak caught Allan high on the thigh inside the area, although referee David Coote initially refused the penalty claims. However, after a lengthy VAR review, the decision was overturned.

Without their two usual penalty takers - who have often publicly clashed over spot kicks - Townsend stepped up for Everton and expertly dispatched past Tim Krul (29).

Norwich improved after half-time. Mathias Normann tested Pickford either side of the break, while Ben Gibson missed a free header, but a sloppy moment in midfield saw Demarai Gray set up Doucoure, who finished expertly for Everton's second (77).

It ensured Everton bounced back from two successive defeats and moved into fifth place ahead of the remaining weekend games. Norwich are yet to register their first point of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, sitting rock bottom of the table.

Everton edge to fourth win of the season

Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates scoring Everton's second goal of the game
Image: Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates scoring Everton's second goal of the game

The game began quietly, but Everton mustered some efforts around the 20 minute mark. After some lovely play on the left, Alex Iwobi burst into the box, but his shot went straight at Krul. Townsend then tried his luck after a pacey passage of play, but again it was held by the Norwich goalkeeper.

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But the first half flashpoint came in the 25th minute. Kabak fouled Allan inside the area, catching the Everton midfielder high on the thigh with his studs. Referee David Coote initially shook his head as he was surrounded by players from both sides, but VAR stepped in.

Player ratings

Everton: Pickford (6), Godfrey (7), Mina (7), Keane (6), Digne (7), Townsend (7), Doucoure (8), Allan (7), Iwobi (7), Gray (7), Rondon (5).

Subs used: Gordon (6), Davies (n/a), Dobbin (n/a).

Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (7), Gibson (6), Hanley (6), Kabak (5), Williams (7), Lees-Melou (6), Normann (7), McLean (6), Sargent (6), Pukki (5).

Subs used: Rashica (6), Tzolis (6), Giannoulis (n/a).

Man of the match: Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Despite appearing to be a rather obvious penalty, VAR official Lee Mason took his time with the replays and Coote checked the pitchside monitor before awarding the spot kick. Krul tried a few mind games with Everton penalty taker Townsend but they had little effect - as the goalkeeper leapt to his left, Townsend lashed the ball down the middle to put Everton ahead.

Norwich's best spell came on the stroke of half-time. Normann fired a shot from range, forcing a smart save from Jordan Pickford in his first real involvement of the game. Seven minutes into the second half, it was the same story, as the England goalkeeper tipped Normann's fierce drive over the crossbar.

Team news

  • It was just the one change for Everton from their Premier League defeat to Aston Villa and as predicted, Jordan Pickford was back in between the sticks. Six players also keep their spots from the Carabao Cup exit to QPR in midweek.
  • Norwich made two changes from their Premier League loss to Watford last weekend. Billy Gilmour and Milot Rashica dropped to the bench, with Ben Gibson and Pierre Lees-Melou coming into the XI. Both players started in the midweek defeat to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, along with captain Grant Hanley.

Norwich continued to see the better of the chances early in the second half, with Ben Gibson missing a glorious free header. Kenny McLean whipped in an inviting free kick, but the defender could not connect as the ball flashed wide.

The atmosphere at Goodison Park turned nervous as Norwich continued to probe, but an error in midfield saw Everton make sure of the three points. McLean could not keep hold of the ball, with Allan picking it up. He then tapped it in for Gray, who drove towards goal, skipping over a Norwich challenge. He laid the ball off for Doucoure on his left, with the midfielder finishing well.

Andros Townsend gives Everton a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot
Image: Andros Townsend gives Everton a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot

Ben Godfrey - lining up against his former side - could have made it three late on. Michael Keane nodded a corner on, with the right-back the furthest forward. He tried to flick the ball past Krul but, at close range, the goalkeeper managed to smother it.

Man of the match - Abdoulaye Doucoure

It was another impressive performance from Doucoure, who was already leading the way in plenty of categories before scoring. He made the highest number of passes (57) and completed 50 of them, giving him a passing accuracy of 87.7 pre cent. He also made 49 good passes and crosses.

In defence, he made four tackles and gained possession 13 times, but perhaps most importantly, he came up with a well-taken goal when Everton were under real pressure.

What the managers said

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Rafa Benitez highlighted Everton’s team spirit after their 2-0 win against Norwich which also secured their best start to a season at Goodison Park since 1989

Everton manager Rafa Benitez: "It was a difficult game because these kinds of games, everyone is expecting that you have to win. We started well, we have control and for 30 minutes maybe, we were there. They didn't create too much and we were attacking without being too dangerous, but we were controlling the game.

"The last 15 minutes, they started passing the ball, so we had to adjust things in the second half. At 1-0, they had the hope that they could do something, but I think the team was working very hard.

"We then adjusted a bit to be more aggressive in the midfield and then we scored the second goal. After that, we had two or three situations that could have been better, but we played against a team who play well. They play good football and you have to be sure you are organised and aggressive enough. We did it and we got all three points, which is the most important thing.

"Hopefully we can carry on [with the home form], that will be the main thing. Hopefully we can emulate what they did last year away from Goodison Park, so if we can win at home and away, it will be better.

"We are missing two or three players that played in every game last year and they scored a lot of goals. Hopefully they will soon be with us and can make the difference helping with the rest of the team."

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Daniel Farke said it was hard to accept the decision to award Everton a penalty following VAR intervention as Norwich’s dreadful start to the season continued with a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke: "It wasn't great to lose this game and at the moment, you have to say we are three points behind our plan. It's not the situation where we dance on the table, but also not the situation where we raise the white flag. The solution is always the same - roll our sleeves up and work even harder.

"Today, we were much improved in many topics. We're not far from winning something in this game and we were certainly not the worst side. But key moments were against us and that's why we lost this game.

"You can always criticise that maybe my player was a bit naïve and unnecessary to have the leg in the air, but we were told before the season starts that when a player uses such a situation just to steal a penalty, it's never given.

"The referee had exactly the right choice during the game, he felt that it wasn't even a chance… Allan is an unbelievably experienced player and he used the high leg of my player in order to go down. It's hard to accept that VAR overturned it or forced the referee to go on the screen and to have this decision in front of an excited stadium, who wanted a penalty, then you are tempted to give it.

"With what we were told before the season started, it was definitely the wrong decision and also tough to accept this because it was also a key point.

"There were tough decisions against us but one or two things that we could improve and that's what we have to do."

Opta stats

  • Everton have won four consecutive Premier League games at Goodison Park for the first time since September 2019 under Marco Silva (6).
  • Norwich have lost each of their first six Premier League games this season with a goal difference of -14; the worst ever start at this stage of a season in the competition's history.
  • Andros Townsend has been directly involved in seven goals in eight appearances in all competitions this season (4 goals, 3 assists), more than any other Everton player.

What's next?

Everton are back in Premier League action next Saturday when they travel to Manchester United; kick-off 12.30pm. Norwich play on the same day, making the trip to Burnley; kick-off 3pm.

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