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Premier League

  • January 11, 2014
  • • 15:00
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 36827
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Everton 2-0 Norwich: Mirallas free-kick helps Toffees climb to fourth

Everton 2-0 Norwich: Mirallas free-kick helps Toffees climb to fourth

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Roberto Martinez's men cantered to a comfortable home victory which sustains their strong momentum and keeps the visitors looking over their shoulder towards the relegation places

Everton continued their bid for a top-four finish with a 2-0 win over out-of-form Norwich City in Saturday's Premier League encounter.

Goals from Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas sealed a victory which kept moved the Merseysiders into the Champions League qualification places, overtaking cross-town rivals Liverpool, who travel to Stoke on Sunday.

Barry's powerful strike – his third since arriving on a season-long loan from Manchester City – sailed in from 25 yards midway through the first half, and Mirallas ensured his side's win with an exquisite free-kick in the 59th minute.

Roberto Martinez's side produced an excellent team performance, demonstrating ruthlessness against opponents who had claimed 1-1 draws on their last two trips to Goodison Park.

Everton – who presented new signing Aiden McGeady to fans before the match – recalled captain Phil Jagielka following his recovery from a hamstring injury but were missing midfielder Ross Barkley (toe), while Leroy Fer returned from suspension for Norwich.

The hosts started brightly, immediately settling into a quick tempo that forced Norwich back, and should have taken the lead in the 12th minute, only for Romelu Lukaku to head Mirallas' pinpoint cross wide from three yards.

A heavy first touch from Gary Hooper let Everton off at the other end, but the visitors remained on the back foot and Javier Garrido was forced to clear a corner at the far post before both Mirallas and Leighton Baines missed the target with efforts.

A goal for the hosts seemed inevitable and Barry produced a moment of genuine quality to break the deadlock in the 23rd minute, charging forward before unleashing a left-footed strike from 25 yards that gave Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy no chance of intercepting its route towards the right-hand side of the net.

Norwich's record signing, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, almost equalised with a curling 20-yard effort that was well saved by Tim Howard, while Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman shot over as Everton pressed for a second.

Howard was off his line quickly to deny Hooper on the stroke of half-time, but Norwich failed to improve after the break as Everton continued to pour forward.

After Jagielka and James McCarthy had wasted half-chances, Mirallas provided the second goal with a stunning set-piece that was bent into the top-left corner from 20 yards.

Lukaku, who led the line superbly throughout, was denied by a diving Ruddy and then had a goal ruled out for offside, while a late Norwich revival was highlighted by a Robert Snodgrass header that hit the post.

Nathan Redmond, Bradley Johnson and Van Wolfswinkel also had attempts on goal, but Everton stood firm to complete a valuable win.

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