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The pressure on Everton manager Frank Lampard increased after new Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui’s thrilling late 2-1 victory at Goodison Park to mark his Premier League debut.

The fifth minute of added time saw substitute Rayan Ait-Nouri score on the counter-attack to win a low-quality game that had appeared to be headed for a draw that would have been of little value to either struggling team.

The Frenchman’s late goal in the Carabao Cup victory over League Two Gillingham during the previous week, but his close-range strike to seal Wolves’ first away victory since their visit here in March, may turn out to be far more significant.

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It only gave Wolves their third league victory of the year, but it was enough to pull his team off the bottom of the standings and to within one point of Everton in 17th place.

Yerry Mina’s goal in the seventh minute was only Lampard’s team’s 12th in 16 games. This lack of firepower cost Lampard’s team once more as Daniel Podence scored a well-executed set-piece equalizer in the 22nd minute.

At halftime, his team left to scattered jeers, but when the game was over, the jeers were much louder.

The team could be in the bottom three by the time they travel to Etihad to play Manchester City.
Unless big transfers are made to address their issues, and they are looking at another relegation struggle.

In an apparent effort to better utilize his skill with the ball, Lampard changed his midfield pairing and put Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gana Gueye in a deeper position.

The 21-year-job old’s was made more challenging by the lack of movement up front, and frequently he was forced to pass somewhere other than forward.

The reason Everton failed to build on the early advantage provided by Mina—who came on for the ineligible Wolves defender Conor Coady in the seventh minute and scored his first league goal in more than two years with a downward header from Dwight McNeil’s corner—was their lack of presence in front of goal.

They were unable to capitalize on this advantage due to a lack of options in possession, and Wolves equalized when a short corner was crossed to Joao Moutinho on the edge of the penalty box.

He lofted a pass back in the direction it came from, and Podence volleyed it in at the near post.

Both teams missed excellent scoring opportunities during the next phase of play, but the hosts were significantly more guilty. Neal Maupay twice missed scoring opportunities due to Wolves’ errors in possession, and Anthony Gordon, who will soon sign a new contract, shot too close to Jose Sa.

Between those two events, Diego Costa’s feeble header was easily saved by Jordan Pickford, and the scattered jeers at halftime were not entirely uncalled for.

Ruben Neves and Moutinho, two talented midfielders, saw their abilities brutally wasted by a lack of firepower as Costa seldom touched the ball and was hardly ever in a threatening position for Wolves.

Given his past performance, Mina’s afternoon ended far too soon when, to the chagrin of the Goodison Park fans, he hobbled off after 74 minutes with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Ben Godfrey, who was making his return from a broken leg suffered on the first day of the season, lifted spirits with a shot that Neves cleared off the line. Substitute Demarai Gray whipped a free-kick wide, and 19-year-old academy graduate Tom Cannon made his Goodison Park debut.

However, as time ran out, Everton failed to stop a counterattack, and when fellow replacement Ait-Nouri was on hand to take advantage of some sloppy defense, Adama Traore’s cross was shot into the six-yard box.

Source:Africa Top Sports

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