Soccer / rafa benitez

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NUFC 3 Everton 2 - Five Home Wins in A Row As Finesse Is Added To Fight
Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United overturned a two-goal half-time deficit against an enterprising Everton to run out 3-2 winners after a spectacular second half to make it five wins in a row at St. James' Park and virtually guarantee their Premier League survival. A game full of drama saw Marco Silva's Toffees start the better team and deservedly take the lead through Dominic Calvert-Lewin's fine 18th minute header past Martin Dubravka before England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford body-checked Salomon Rondon in the opposite area for a penalty which the normally-reliable Matt Ritchie saw saved by Pickford, who was extremely fortunate not to be dismissed by referee Lee Mason. To make matters worse for the home side, Everton then went up the pitch and Richarlison added an easy tap-in second after some uncharacterstically sloppy defending and goakeeping from Benitez's rearguard to stun the the 52,242 crowd at St. James' Park. It was a different Newcastle literally and figuratively that emerged second-half with Paul Dummett replacing injured Captain Jamaal Lascelles as The Magpies switched to four at the back and the attacking move paid dividends after 65 minutes with one of the best goals seen at St. James' Park this season, Rondon authoritatively volleying home a neat exhange of passes with Ayoze Perez, a goal which greatly impressed boss Benitez: Newcastle's attacking momentum was steadily gathering pace, positively forcing panic from Pickford in front of the gleeful Gallowgate End and the introduction of first Kenedy in the 73rd minute for Ritchie then, crucially, JonJo Shelvey in the 79th minute for South Korean Ki Seung-Yeung swung the game with the latter looking fresh and inspired. Trademark Hollywood passes from the United playmaker gave Newcastle an extra dimension in the final third and when Miguel Almiron's rasping 30-yarder was only parried by Pickford, Perez was on hand to equalize in front of the delighted Geordie faithful. A Shelvey corner led to the winning goal after the impressive Isaac Hayden's up-and-under was controlled by Rondon and lashed home by the Perez, whose familiar celebration of fingers-in-ears to drown out his critics was met with delight as the stadium erupted: Everton manager Silva complained about the Newcastle winner post-match: "I cannot understand. One clear offside — five Newcastle players were in the same line and the player who touched the ball, Rondon, was offside." yet it would have been rough justice had The Magpies not taken all three points as only Sunderland-born Pickford's World Cup heroics for England kept him on the pitch and Newcastle would have ran riot against 10-men Everton for an hour on this second-half display consolidating 13th place on 34 points, six ahead of Cardiff in the relegation zone.
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