Okaka’s Wat­ford brace deep­ens Ever­ton gloom

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WAT­FORD: Ital­ian striker Ste­fano Okaka’s first two Wat­ford goals in­spired a 3-2 come­back win over Ever­ton yes­ter­day, leav­ing Ronald Koeman’s side with one win in 10 Pre­mier League games.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice for Ever­ton, book­end­ing the scor­ing, but Okaka’s dou­ble-the first a bril­liant flick-and a Se­bas­tian Prodl header earned Wal­ter Maz­zarri’s men vic­tory.

It was Wat­ford’s first win over Ever­ton since a 2-1 suc­cess in March 1987 and took them above the Mersey­side club in the ta­ble, putting them level on points with Manch­ester United.

Ever­ton have gone five games without a win and now face a daunt­ing pair of home games against Arse­nal and derby ri­vals Liver­pool be­fore a trip to cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City. Ever­ton re­ceived a blow this week with the news close-sea­son sign­ing Yan­nick Bo­lasie is likely to miss the rest of the cam­paign due to a se­ri­ous knee in­jury.

Ger­ard Deulofeu took over from the for­mer Crys­tal Palace winger at Vicarage Road and drew an un­ortho­dox, vol­ley­ball-style save from Wat­ford goal­keeper Heurelho Gomes with a teas­ing early cross.

The hosts seemed to be build­ing up a head of steam, with Ramiro Funes Mori obliged to slide in and pre­vent Okaka reach­ing Eti­enne Capoue’s low cross, when Ever­ton took a 17th-minute lead.

Gareth Barry did not even need to look up to know where Lukaku would be run­ning, hoist­ing a first-time pass over the Wat­ford de­fence for the Bel­gium striker to fin­ish past Gomes.

Okaka’s first at­tempt at an equaliser lacked the pace or place­ment to trou­ble Ever­ton goal­keeper Maarten Steke­len­burg, but his sec­ond ef­fort was a gem. Nordin Am­ra­bat curled a cross into the box from the right and Okaka-signed from An­der­lecht in Au­gust-stole in front of his marker be­fore pirou­et­ting to flick a grace­ful back-heel vol­ley home from six yards.

Wat­ford might have gone ahead be­fore half-time, but Troy Deeney mis­cued af­ter ghost­ing in to meet Ad­lene Gue­dioura’s deep cross. The sec­ond goal would not elude them for long, how­ever, as Jose Hole­bas bent a free-kick into the box from the left in the 59th minute and Prodl charged in to plant a header past Steke­len­burg. Within five min­utes it was 31. Steke­len­burg pro­duced a fin­ger-tip save to keep out Miguel Bri­tos’s header, but from the re­sult­ing cor­ner Hole­bas picked out Okaka to glance in his sec­ond goal. Koeman sent on Ross Barkley, En­ner Va­len­cia and Aaron Len­non and the lat­ter’s left-wing cross al­lowed Lukaku to re­duce the ar­rears with a close-range header four min­utes from time. But Wat­ford held on, a stop­page­time Barkley free-kick the only mean­ing­ful ef­fort Gomes had to save. — AFP

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