Everton 0 Leeds United 1 - Exhilarating Whites finally find a way through Raphinha

IT was another game where the backslaps for Leeds United in terms of their enlightened, beguiling football arrived by the bucketload.
Goodison Park.Goodison Park.
Goodison Park.

Thankfully, they were also accompanied by bouquets to herald this richly-deserved victory.

After spurning a litany of chances, Leeds - and more specifically - winger Raphinha took matters into his own hands.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His clinical 79th-minute low strike which flew between the legs of Ben Godfrey and whistled past Jordan Pickford was inch-perfect.

It was as deadly as Leeds' previous efforts on goal were lame.

Leeds can be infuriating, but they also possess undoubted brilliance.

After playing with style and verve across Stanley Park, United were at it again at the home of a club whose 'School of Science' football earned some many admirers many, many years ago.

Here, the admiration was bestowed in their direction.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Unfortunately, plenty was also confirmed about Leeds which their supporters already knew.

Leeds can be a breathtaking watch, but their reputation in terms converting big chances to goals is also starting to precede them. Until Raphinha's welcome moment.

Fresh from Sunday's game against Arsenal when they did everything but score, Leeds were at it again in a first half where it was unfathomable that they did not find the net.

There were 20 shots in total in the first half - that is the most first half shots in a Premier League game this season, only nine were on target.

Leeds had 13 shots, but did not score with one.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jack Harrison was the biggest culprit, putting a golden chance early wide when supplied by the excellent Raphinha, who produced a masterly performance full of pace and threat.

A shot which was cleared off the line by Ben Godfrey and a header which smacked against the post added to his chagrin.

Patrick Bamford - so authoritative in his hold-up work and link play - would also spurn a couple of excellent chances, while Jordan Pickford produced a brilliant one-handed save to keep out Raphinha's point-blank header.

In a half when there was plenty of disorder in their defence, Everton hung in there and were encouraged by a Leeds side who looked suspectible from set-pieces and whose own back four lacked authority and conviction themselves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It made it a thoroughly enjoyable entertaining watch, but incredibly without goals.

Illan Meslier was called into action like Pickford with his early dsave to deny Doucoure being particularly praiseworthy.

He also beat away a point-blank effort from Michael Keane from James Rodriguez's free-kick as Leeds dozed and got in the way of a goalbound effort from Richarlison.

The offside flag would also assist Leeds when sublime close control from Rodriguez saw him net, with an effort from Richarlison following a corner also ruled out for offside against Godfrey.

The litany of missed chances would continue on the restart.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bamford ballooned an effort over after picture-book build-up and more delightful build-up play ended in Harrison shooting at Pickford, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Rodriguez - whose chip drew a backtracking save from Meslier following his initial error - and Allan went close for Everton.

When Leeds did score, the offside flag - correctly - nipped any celebrations from Bamford in the bud and still all and sundry waited for the breakthrough.

At the other end, the left boot of Rodriguez looked to be Everton's most potent weapon with Meslier gathering his goalbound shot at the second attempt.

It was left to Raphinha to break the spell with a fine match-winning strike to crown an excellent display. At last was the phrase Leeds supporters will have been uttering.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alioski missed a glorious chance late on as did Helder Costa, but Raphinha struck the one that counted.

Everton: Pickford; Godfrey, Holgate (Bernard 82), Keane; Davies (Delph 61), Doucoure, Richarlison, Iwobi (Gomes 67); Rodriguez, Calvert Lewin. Substitutes unused: Lossl, Sigurdsson, Mina, Tosun.

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Alioski, Philips, Raphinha (Poveda 84), Klich, Dallas, Harrison (Costa 89), Bamford (Rodrigo 90). Substitutes unused: Casilla, Roberts, Struijk, Davis.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.