PREM: Everton 4-2 Leicester


Romelu Lukaku's close-range header put Everton back on level terms

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Everton overcame Leicester 4-2 in an entertaining clash at Goodison Park.


Five goals were scored in a pulsating first half, starting with Tom Davies' close-range finish for Everton in the first minute, but the hosts were soon pegged back by Islam Slimani's goal as Leicester broke after just four minutes.

Marc Albrighton then put Leicester ahead with a direct free-kick from a crossing position on the left, before Lukaku equalised with a close-range header on 23 minutes.

The frantic first half ended 3-2 when Phil Jagielka's header from a corner found the corner of the net, and 12 minutes after the break Lukaku got his second with a far-post finish through a crowd of players.

The result means Everton remain seventh, seven points off the top four, while Leicester are 11th, eight points clear of safety.

Everton went ahead after just 30 seconds through Davies, who finished from close range following Kevin Mirallas' direct run through the heart of the Leicester defence, in which referee Bobby Madley played a useful advantage.

But Leicester, who made several changes from the side which beat Sunderland 2-0 ahead of their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, replied instantly just three minutes later, Slimani finishing under Joel Robles after Demarai Gray played him through on goal on the counter attack.

It was 2-1 to Leicester on 10 minutes as Albrighton's cross-shot from a free-kick found the top corner past Robles, who was anticipating a delivery into the box.

Lukaku equalised on 23 minutes, netting in his eighth successive match at Goodison Park, finishing with a close-range header from Ross Barkley's sumptuous right-wing cross.

Barkley himself should have had Everton 3-2 up, taking the ball around Schmeichel before the Leicester goalkeeper somehow got a last-ditch glove on it before the midfielder could convert into the empty net.

But from the resulting corner Everton took the lead again, as Mirallas' superb delivery was headed into the top corner by Jagielka from six yards.

In contrast to the first 45 minutes, the second half began slower, but Everton gained a two-goal cushion via Lukaku's second, finishing up at the back post via Mirallas' corner and some questionable Leicester defending.

Leicester nearly halved the deficit with 11 minutes remaining, but Leonardo Ulloa's header from a Riyad Mahrez corner was blocked by the face of Idrissa Gueye at point-blank range. And again the champions were close to creating a nervous last few minutes after Ulloa's glancing header from another Mahrez cross was superbly saved by Robles.

But it finished 4-2, ending Craig Shakespeare's 100 per cent start as Leicester manager, while Ronald Koeman's Everton remain firmly in the hunt for the top six places.


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