Everton 0, Manchester City 1
Phil Foden scored in his third away game on the bounce as Manchester City left it late to beat Everton at Goodison Park.Embed from Getty Images
The win meant that City restored their six point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League as they bounced back from last week’s defeat at home to Spurs with a scrappy late goal at Goodison Park to take all three points.
But City’s victory might have been soured had a penalty been given for handball against Rodri right at the end of the game but after a lengthy check VAR declined to intervene to the disbelief of Evertonians around the ground.
Everton finished the night in 17th place – just a point above Burnley who are in the relegation zone on the same number of points.
City manager Pep Guardiola was relieved at the win at Goodison Park – a crucial result to keep City clear at the top of the Premier League.
He said: “I have to admit it was really important. We moved them and attacked better in the second half.
“With opponents like Liverpool it’s a big fight. It’s not one day, but many days.
“Everton defended with four, five, they were physical on transitions and were dangerous at set pieces.
“I told the guys to be patient and the chances would come.
”We did everything to win, the keeper is the keeper for the national team but we kept going and in the end Phil was there.
“We were searching, that’s certain, and we earned the good fortune.”
“With Frank [Lampard], Everton has the top players to keep going with his way – Goodison Park has always been difficult and today was no exception.”
Guardiola’s sidestepped the late penalty claim though, claiming: “It was offside. I didn’t see the VAR image.
But he thanked the Everton fans for putting on a show of support for Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko – both Ukrainian players who were on the bench of their respective clubs even as war raged in their home country.
He said: “Thank you so much for all the people in Goodison Park, when everyone clapped Aleks warming up it was so emotional.
“It’s so difficult to understand what’s going on – the people were amazing and I hope the people at Old Trafford show him the same respect next week.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard was sanguine about City’s goal but was fuming about the subsequent handball.
He said: “We’re a bit hurt at the moment.
“On performance alone we did it brilliantly, it was immense from everyone and we deserved at least a draw.
“Not many people create chances against City.
“I won’t criticise an individual mistake, you have to rely on luck along the way. I was cruel but understandable.
“I wanted to know if it was offside in the buildup against Richarlison – it wasn’t.
“The ball struck Rodri on his arm which was in an unnatural position. I have a three year old daughter at home who can tell you it was a penalty.
“I can’t understand why he didn’t go to look at the monitor. Someone needs to explain it to me but we have to accept it.
“We need results but don’t look at the table for the next two or three weeks. We have 14 games to go and a lot of points to play for – my feeling is we’ll be fine.”
After the events of this week, Lampard tried to put the defeat into perspective.
He added: “Ukraine means much more than a penalty shout. To see Vitaliy Mykolenko for the last few days has given me a lot of perspective.”
Everton frustrate Manchester City before late Phil Foden goal and even later VAR drama
Everton fans produced banners saying: “We stand with Ukraine” and their players were inspired to take on City, who only made one change from their defeat to Spurs with John Stones replacing Kyle Walker, in the first half.
Jonjo Kenny sit the side netting as Lampard’s men initially frustrated the visitors with a highly organised performance, packing the midfield while offering the better goal threat in the first half.
Richarlison was flagged offside only after he had been denied by Ederson as the Toffees started the second half equally well.
But City were building up the chances and began to wear down the Toffees.
Phil Foden’s shot produced a fine save from Jordan Pickford and the Everton keeper also parried a fierce long range effort from John Stones but City remained thwarted even as Everton dropped ever deeper in the second half.
Both Foden and Kevin De Bruyne’s set pieces and crosses weren’t having much effect.
Pickford saved from De Bruyne and also kept out Bernardo Silva’s follow-up as City had to try from further out while Foden headed a De Bruyne cross onto the roof of Pickford’s net.
Dele Alli replaced the injured Donny van de Beek for the last 18 minutes and Anthony Gordon’s shot from the narrow angle was wide after Stones had eased him away.
Demarai Gray come on for Gordon while City brought on Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus for the last 13 minutes – taking off Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.
City’s patience finally paid off with eight minutes to go when Silva’s cross was deflected several times, finally coming off Michael Keane before it rolled behind him where Foden pounced from close range to finally break the deadlock – his tenth goal of the season.
But that wasn’t the end of the drama.
Richarlison forced a save off Ederson who had to rush off his line but the loose ball touched Rodri’s arm before he smashed it away as it span away from danger.
City were mightily relieved that the Stockley Park decision was no penalty – there was apparently “no conclusive evidence that the ball hit Rodri substantially” below the so-called t-shirt line which would have been a handball on the current interpretation of the rules.
Alex Iwobi was replaced by Anwar El Ghazi for the last 2 minutes for Everton who had to look for an equaliser against the meanest defence in the Premier League.
And it was testament to the efforts of the home side that City resorted to time wasting to see out the end of a tense encounter.
GOAL – Everton 0, Manchester City 1
Everton 0, Man City 1: 82. Phil Foden pounced late n the game to beat Jordan Pickford from close range after Bernardo Silva’s cross took a couple of deflections on the way to Michael Keane who couldn’t fully connect with the ball which trickled to the City midfielder who made no mistake.
MATCH STATS – Everton 0, Manchester City 1
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Kenny, Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi (El Ghazi 88), van de Beek (Alli 71), Gordon, (Gray 77), Richarlison
Everton subs not used: Begovic, Patterson, Townsend, Mykolenko, Braithwaite, Rondon
Bookings: Allan, van de Beek, Alli
Man City: Ederson, Stones, Ruben Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan (Mahrez 77), Foden, Benardo Silva, Sterling (Gabriel Jesus 77)
Man City subs not used: Carson, Slicker, Walker, Ake, Grealish, Zinchenko, Fernandinho
Bookings: Ederson, Foden
Referee: Paul Tierney