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Wolves 1-2 Everton: Michael Keane provides Carlo Ancelotti's side a late winner

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Wolves 1-2 Everton: Michael Keane's late header took Everton to within a point of rivals Liverpool as Carlo Ancelotti’s side kept themselves in the title raceAlex Iwobi handed the visitors the lead following a nice bit of play from DigneRuben Neves found the net for Wolves to make the game level before half-time  Michael Keane finished the game off by scoring the winner in the 77th minute

Michael Keane's late header took Everton to within a point of rivals Liverpool as Carlo Ancelotti’s side kept themselves in the title race.

With the game apparently heading for a draw, Keane produced a towering header 13 minutes from time to send substitute Andre Gomes’ cross past Rui Patricio. Earlier, Ruben Neves’ equaliser for the home side had cancelled out Alex Iwobi’s opener to leave the scores level at half-time.

At the interval, indeed, the spirit between the sides was perhaps a little friendlier than either coach would have wanted.

Alex Iwobi (above) handed the visitors the lead following a nice bit of play from Digne

However, Ruben Neves found the net for Wolves to make the game level before half-time

Even though the Premier League wrote to all clubs last week to urge their players to avoid swapping shirts among a number of tough new coronavirus guidelines, it seems not everyone received the memo.

Soon after Martin Atkinson had blown his whistle, Everton playmaker James Rodriguez appeared to exchange his jersey with Wolves striker Fabio Silva. As he walked off, James then approached Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho – a former team-mate at Porto – and took his shirt, too.

If the incident is reported, the Premier League are certain to take a dim view after warning clubs that the Government are watching football closely amid a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK. There is no appetite in the Premier League to pause football but they are desperate not to give ministers any reason to do so.

The result meant Everton missed the chance to move within a point of second-placed Liverpool, while Wolves have now won only one of their last eight in the league. The absence of Raul Jimenez, absent long-term after suffering a serious head injury at Arsenal in November, continues to hurt them.

But it was Michael Keane who finished the game off by scoring the winner in the 77th minute

Without top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has a hamstring injury, and with Richarlison fit enough only for a place on the bench, Carlo Ancelotti paired James Rodriguez with Gylfi Sigurdsson to provide the edge in a fluid 4-4-2 formation.

It paid off quickly for Everton, who took the lead in the sixth minute. James played a superb crossfield pass to the left where Lucas Digne – making his first league appearance since November after recovering from injury – played it back to the edge of the box.

MATCH FACTS 

Everton: Pickford, Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Doucoure, Davies, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, James

Subs: Olsen, Richarlison, Coleman, Tosun, Nkounkou, Gomes, Gordon, Kenny, Bernard 

Wolves: Rui Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Gibbs-White, Neto, Silva 

Subs: Ruddy, Richards, Corbeanu, Hoever, KIlman, Cutrone, Vitinha, Shabani, Lonwijk   

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Nobody had followed Iwobi in from the flank and the former Arsenal man had plenty of time and space to plant a shot beyond Rui Patricio from 20 yards.

At this stage, Wolves were all over the place. Adama Traore was missing from due to injury, so Morgan Gibbs-White – recalled from his loan at Swansea – was making his first league start since August 2019 and was used in an unfamiliar false nine role, with Fabio Silva pushed to the left.

Yet when Tom Davies conceded a needless corner in the 14th minute, Wolves equalised. Yerry Mina failed to clear Pedro Neto’s kick, allowing Rayan Ait-Nouri to turn the ball back in the danger zone, where Neves volleyed it in from close range.

Having had a hand in that goal, Neves nearly created another when he collected Leander Dendoncker’s pass and found Silva eight yards out, only for Jordan Pickford to make a good save. At the other end, Iwobi was having plenty of joy on the right but he should have done better than shoot straight at Rui Patricio after James’ return pass had sent him clear.

Both teams were prepared to play expansively yet their approach work was not always matched by the finishing. Wolves left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri, who looks far happier going forward than doing the day job, ran on to Gibbs-White’s pass and picked out Dendoncker on the edge of the box where the Belgian sent a woeful effort well wide.

There then followed the bizarre moment when James appeared to exchange shirts with Fabio Silva, before also asking for Moutinho’s as they walked off. If the incident is reported, the Premier League will surely take a dim view.

Early in the second half, Wolves danger man Neto took a hefty whack from Abdoulaye Doucoure, which brought a booking for the Everton midfielder. Neto seemed in some pain but was able to continue after lengthy treatment. Dendoncker then headed over Moutinho’s free-kick from an inviting position.

Neves is renowned for his ability to score spectacular goals and in the 70th minute he nearly produced another, controlling a dropping ball 30 yards out and sending a dipping volley a fraction over the bar. Keane’s intervention moments later proved far more telling as he climbed brilliantly at the far post to give Patricio no chance.

Neves was inches away from claiming his second with a free-kick close to the penalty area that hit the angle of post and bar with Pickford beaten.  


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