Feb 1, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT
Everton came back from 1-0 down to score two goals in the final fifteen minutes, beating Aston Villa 2-1 at Goodison Park. With Tottenham only able to manage a draw against Hull, that puts the Toffees back into fifth place, just one point behind Liverpool in the Premier League’s final Champions League slot.
The equalizer came courtesy of substitute Steven Naismith, who got on the end of a ball from another substitute, Steven Pienaar, to put his shot past Brad Guzan and into the back of the net. Everton’s winning goal came from yet another free kick, only the man taking it was, perhaps surprisingly, not Leighton Baines. Instead Kevin Mirallas stepped up, putting in a masterful curling shot to give his side all three points.
In his post-match interview, Roberto Martínez called the win “the most satisfying victory of the season.” But rather than take credit for his second half substitutions, which changed the face of the game, he complimented his players. “ In the first half we were too responsible, the players were thinking too much, and were too concerned with the outcome rather than enjoying it,” Martínez said. ”I couldn’t be more proud of that second-half display. We went out and enjoyed our football after half-time.”
The Everton manager also gave plenty of credit to Mirallas, calling his free kick a “moment of brilliance.” He went on to say, “”Kevin has just as much quality from free-kicks as Leighton. They are both incredible at situations like that.”
Paul Lambert, too, could not help but compliment the winning goal, labeling it a “world-class free kick.” The Aston Villa manager, however, made sure to point out that he wasn’t sure his side deserved to lose the game, saying they’d been excellent up until Naismith’s equalizer.
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