English Premiership

Coleman strike sinks Cardiff

2014-03-15 19:52
Seamus Coleman (AP Photo)

Liverpool - Seamus Coleman's stoppage-time strike earned Everton a dramatic 2-1 victory over Cardiff at Goodison Park on Saturday to keep his side in the hunt for European football.

Roberto Martinez's team looked set to be frustrated after Juan Cala cancelled out Gerard Deulofeu's opener for the hosts.

Cala's goal seemed likely to earn Cardiff a priceless point in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's efforts to keep the Welsh club in the Premier League.

But deep into stoppage-time substitute Aiden McGeady crossed from the left, Gareth Barry kept the ball in play with a committed run and header and Coleman saw his miscued attempt wrong-foot goalkeeper David Marshall and fly into the goal.

That moved Everton back up to sixth place, while Cardiff dropped to second bottom, three points from safety.

Deulofeu, the young winger on loan from Barcelona, had scored an opening goal that looked likely to continue Everton's recent dominant home form early in the second half.

After 58 minutes, the 20-year-old ran onto Leon Osman's through ball down the left flank and past Gary Medel before cutting in towards the near post and scoring via a shot deflected off Steven Caulker.

But within 10 minutes, Peter Whittingham's superbly-placed free-kick into the Everton six-yard area found the chest of Cala who guided the ball past the stranded Tim Howard into the corner of the Everton goal.

Seeking a seventh consecutive home victory that would have improved their chances of a fifth-placed finish and European football next season, Kevin Mirallas almost shot Everton into an early lead, shrugging aside Caulker and seeing his shot saved tidily by David Marshall.

Leighton Baines' resulting corner caused confusion in the Cardiff area and a ricochet struck Sylvain Distin before narrowly clearing the bar.

But it was a resilient display by Cardiff, often featuring five men in defence, and one that threatened Everton with a number of half chances on the break.

The better opportunities fell to the home side, nevertheless, with Seamus Coleman's perceptive cross after 26 minutes being moved on by Romelu Lukaku for Mirallas whose strike was deflected behind.

- a narrow escape -

Just before the half hour, Everton enjoyed a narrow escape after Kim Bo-Kyung was tackled on the edge of their area and the ball broke kindly for Fraizer Campbell whose shot was only kept out by the quick reactions of Howard.

The first half ended with Everton back in the ascendancy, James McCarthy's piercing through ball finding Deulofeu whose shot was well saved by David Marshall.

Lukaku also tested Marshall with a stinging 18-yards shot which the goalkeeper tipped over his cross-bar acrobatically.

The momentum remained with Everton upon the restart as Cala was required to perform an impressive piece of goal line defending to deny Lukaku connection on a Baines cross, although there was an instant reminder for the home side of the dangers posed by the visitors as Campbell's low snap shot was well handled by Howard at the foot of his post.

Deulofeu broke the deadlock soon after, effectively his last involvement of the afternoon as he was replaced by McGeady soon afterwards, although it took Cala only nine minutes to restore parity.

Osman wasted a good opportunity within minutes of that, leaning back and shooting wide from 16 yards.

Cardiff, looking for their first Goodison victory since 1926, continued to threaten on the counter attack and claimed they should have had a late penalty after substitute Wilfried Zaha clashed with Sylvain Distin.

Read more on:    cardiff  |  everton  |  english premiership  |  soccer
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