Everton 2-0 Norwich: Andros Townsend and Abdoulaye Doucoure strike to pile the hurt on Daniel Farke’s side… who are still without even a POINT after six games
- Everton took on Norwich City at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon
- The Toffees suffered defeat by Aston Villa last time out but rallied
- Andros Townsend’s penalty opening the scoring in the first-half
- Abdoulaye Doucoure scored the second, leaving Norwich still bottom
Daniel Farke was left furious by the intervention of VAR to award Everton the penalty that set his Norwich side on the way to their sixth consecutive defeat of the season.
Referee David Coote had initially given a goal kick when midfielder Allan collided with Ozan Kabak’s high foot in the box, but was urged to check his decision on the pitchside monitor.
Andros Townsend converted from the spot, and Abdoulaye Doucoure made sure of the three points in the second half, as Rafa Benitez picked up his third straight home win – the first Toffees manager to achieve this in the opening three matches of a season in the Premier League era.
But his opposite number was adamant they had been given more than a helping hand.
Andros Townsend scored the opener as Everton beat Norwich City on Saturday afternoon
Abdoulaye Doucoure stuck the second after 77 minutes to pull the Toffees clear at Goodison
Norwich still have not got a point on the board since returning to the Premier League
Everton (4-4-1-1): Pickford 6.5; Godfrey 6, Mina 6.5, Keane 6, Digne 6; Townsend 6.5 (Gordon 76), Doucoure 7, Allan 6, Iwobi 6 (Dobbin 87); Gray 6.5 (Davies 83); Rondon 6.
Subs: Begovic, Kenny, Holgate, Lonergran, Branthwaite, Simms.
Booked: Digne, Gray
Goals: Townsend 29 (pen), Doucoure 77
Norwich (3-5-2): Krul 6; Aarons 6, Kabak 5 (Rashica 69, 6), Hanley 6, Gibson 5.5, Williams 5.5 (Giannoulis 86); Lees-Melou 5.5, Normann 6.5 (Tzolis 70, 6), Mclean 6; Sargent 5.5, Pukki 5.
Subs: Gunn, Rupp, Gilmour, Dowell, Idah, Omabomidele.
Booked: Kabak, Lees-Moulou, Williams
Referee: David Coote 6
‘It was definitely the wrong decision,’ the German boss said after the game. ‘Before the season started they said once a player tries to use a situation, with a straight leg, in order to create a penalty, then it is never a penalty. This was such a situation.
‘Allan put the ball out more or less for a goal kick for us and realised it was too far away. He then used the leg of Ozan Kabak to dive over his leg and go over.
‘The referee had the right decision during the game. He had a perfect decision. VAR forced him to rewatch it and of course if you watch a game in slow motion and have the pressure of the whole stadium wanting a penalty, it’s not the easiest situation for the referee. I was disappointed it was overturned.’
It was not the only decision of the afternoon that irked the Canaries boss, who has now lost 16 consecutive matches as a top-flight manager – an unwanted record that threatens only to grow.
Farke also questioned why Lucas Digne was not shown a second yellow for a deliberate handball in the second half.
‘We were chasing the game and I think it was definitely a handball and it was a really dangerous cross for us. I think it should be a yellow [then] red card,’ he added.
‘If you’re then chasing the game and have one man overload with 20, 25 minutes to go that would definitely have changed the outcome of the game.’
Rafa Benitez oversaw a disappointing defeat to Aston Villa last week but his players responded
Townsend opened the scoring after 22 minutes with a spot-kick, continuing his superb form
Townsend was an underwhelming signing for Everton fans but has since won their support
For Benitez and Everton though, it was a welcome return to winning ways.
There had been concern that his side’s season had already peaked.
Their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign was obliterated at Villa Park last Saturday, while their Carabao Cup quest ended at QPR after a penalty shootout defeat.
With Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both still out and James Rodriguez’s move to Qatar side Al-Rayyan confirmed midweek, there are also concerns over just where the goals are going to come from. At present, the answer appears to be Townsend, who made no mistake from the spot when eventually given the chance in the 29th minute to set them on their way to a third win at Goodison.
‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s a record or not,’ Benitez said after the game. ‘I like to win.’
Doucoure doubled the lead as Everton scrapped to eventually overhaul the struggling side
The former Watford man has shone in blue and continued his influence with a goal on Saturday
Despite losing their unbeaten start last time out Everton remain right in the European fight
For long swathes of the second half, the victory did look in some doubt. They invited Norwich to attack and the support around Goodison growing restless at wave after wave of florescent orange shirts pushing forward.
Norwich though, have their own creativity issues. Farke’s side have found the back of the net just twice since returning to the top flight. For all their industry on Merseyside, they never looked like adding to that.
And that there is the difference between a top-half side, and one anchored to the foot of the table.
Despite an abject second-half showing, Everton still created the better opening. They took it, too. Pierre Lees-Melou was caught in possession just inside his own half. Gray pressed on and laid the ball into the path of Doucoure, who fired low beyond Krul. The ability to find the net hasn’t deserted Benitez’s side quite yet.