Everton 1 -
Umbro Cup Final
Sunday 27 July 1997
Goodison Park, Merseyside
|« Ajax Amsterdam (h)||Ref: Stephen Lodge||Guernsey Select (a) »|
|Chelsea:||Vialli (67), Zola (83, 91)|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
Gerrard; O'Connor, Short, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe (Bilic
24); Oster, McCann (Thomsen 77), Grant (Speed 45), Farrelly (Barmby 77);
Stuart, Branch (Ferguson 45)
Unavailable: Barrett, (Injured) Dunne (Intl Duty)
|Chelsea:||De Goey; Sinclair, Leboeuf, Clarke, Granville; Petrescu (P Hughes 64), Di Matteo, Morris, Nicholls (Wise 45); Zola; Vialli.||M Hughes, Hitchcock, Clement, Harley.|
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Lyndon Lloyd||Channel 5 Extravaganza|
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
Zola puts foot on accelerator to drive Chelsea forward
by Henry Winter
|SOCCERNET||Link to Match Report|
|LIVERPOOL ECHO||Link to Match Report|
|Channel 5 Extravaganza|
The team sheet came as a surprise I have to say as I had not expected Howard
to be so laid back about selection for a tournament final, albeit the lowly
Umbro Cup. Gone were Bilic, Ferguson, Barmby, Southall and Speed - the line-up
was full of youngsters like Gavin McCann, Jon O' Connor, Gareth Farrelly
and Jon Oster who were all given a deserved outing against a strong Chelsea
Unfortunately, all the ingredients, topped off with a gloriously sunny day, failed to produce the right mix and we were subjected to one of the most boring 45-minute spells I have ever seen. The Blues, playing in their unsightly yellow and black striped kit, were a virtually non-existent attacking force. Branch and Stuart formed an unconvincing striking partnership and when the 18 year-old, sensibly relieved of his Fowler-esque no. 23 squad number, wasn't running offside, his more experienced team-mate was running into blind alleys and stumbling over the ball at the crucial moment. It seems as though as soon as Diamond gets into the penalty area, his boots secrete glue that traps the ball under his feet. How else do you explain the his repetitive errors?!
Elsewhere, Unsworth was as ineffective as ever and Andy Hinchcliffe looked like a man who was carrying the sort of injury for which he was removed after just 23 minutes of anonymous presence on the left side of defence. Slaven Bilic came on to replace him and almost immediately confirmed his growing reputation as the rock on which Everton 1997-98 will be founded. Young McCann was understandably tentative in midfield, although he did grow in confidence and his midfield partner, Tony Grant played like he had a hidden clause in his contract that forbids him from leaving the centre-circle. Either that or Sunderland kicked not only the living daylights out of young Rodders but his talent and confidence as well.
However, it was not all doom and gloom on Goodison's green and pleasant pitch. For a start, Chelsea's league of nations side was playing equally badly and Everton were displaying their star of the future in the shape of John "Johninho" Oster. If Everton had signed Ravanelli, 19 year-old Oster would still have been a better capture at a fraction of the price. This lad is going to be a fantastic player and has probably booked his first-team place on pre-season performances alone. From his very first touch it was clear that he knows what he is doing and that he is quite prepared to jink his way past anyone in his way, be it Leboeuf, Zola, Di Matteo or Frank Sinclair. Prematurely high praise you might say but when you consider that Johninho put in more crosses in one match than Everton did in the whole of last season, you understand what a breath of fresh air our new number 19 is.
The sparse Goodison crowd had to wait 6 minutes for the first meaningful attack of the game when Danny Granville crossed but Nicholls failed to connect on the six-yard box. The same Chelsea player fired over from the same distance 20 minutes later when he really should have hit the target. At the other end, Everton were playing as if Ferguson were on the pitch, floating long balls in the general direction of the Chelsea defence which were easily dealt with.#
Then in a five minute spell that straddled the half-hour mark, Everton suddenly came to life. Farrelly burst down the left but his cross was disappointing but within a minute, the Blues had won their first corner which Short headed narrowly over. Farrelly then snatched at an 18-yard effort before Short again headed a Stuart corner over the bar. Apart from that, there was little to excite the home faithful, only scare them as Vialli missed a sitter and Bilic went down writhing in agony following a high challenge from Leboeuf. Thankfully, Everton's 4.5 million pound freight-train came out uninjured.
At half-time, Kendall rang the much-needed changes. Ferguson and Speed replaced the ineffective Branch and Grant and immediately the Blues looked a far better side. Those youngsters still on the pitch grew visibly in confidence alongside the more experienced introductions and in the 49th minute, Ferguson laid up Farrelly but his 20 yard shot went straight to the 'keeper. Oster made another of his raids into the Chelsea area but just lost his footing at the vital second before Ferguson nodded a cross down to Stuart, but the former Chelsea man was heavily challenged and the ball ended up bouncing off his head to safety. In between, Oster had produced a moment of class with a sublime 25-yard drive that crashed off the crossbar and out of danger. It was the best moment of the match and it brought the crowd to life. Chelsea responded by putting Vialli clean through but he went down under a suspicion of contact by the on-rushing Gerrard but only a corner was given thanks to O'Connor's toe poke off the line.
In direct contrast to the first half, things were looking up. Speed was as industrious and enthusiastic as ever and even Duncan looked up for the fight. He was at the heart of most Blues attacks as was Oster. Apart from the Vialli-Gerrard incident and a suicide ball by Unsworth, the hosts' goal seemed relatively safe. Unfortunately, Channel 5 had not got any better. Bloom and St John were salivating at every touch by a Chelsea foreigner (which, considering their squad is almost entirely foreign, was a lot!) and when the timer reached the hour mark, the 6 in 60:00 disappeared completely, prompting the director to remove the scoreboard/clock graphic completely before giving it a comeback late on, stripped of the clockcompletely.
With 25 minutes left, Bilic had an effort cleared off the line but within three further minutes, Chelsea were ahead: Substitute Paul Hughes carved open the Everton defence with an incisive ball and Vialli slid the ball past the stranded Gerrard. It is possible that had Southall been in goal, he would have saved it but perhaps that is being harsh on Gerrard. It was a one-on-one situation which Nev relishes, though.
McCann was then removed for Claus Thomsen and Gareth Farrelly made way for Nick Barmby in the 75th minute. Barmby looked more like the payer we thought we had signed with his probing and movement and it was he who was involved in the Blues' magnificent equaliser. Ferguson back-heeled it to Barmby who fed Speed and the Welsh midfielder slipped a neat ball to Stuart and Ferguson powered home Diamond's inch-perfect cross to finish a fine move. The game had come to life but within three minutes, Chelsea were back in front. Sinclair's driven cross was fluffed by Gerrard and Zola slotted home from 10 yards.
Nevertheless, Everton pushed for the equaliser and Stuart had a gilt-edged chance to fire them level in a goal-mouth melee but Dennis Wise cleared off the line to save the Londoners. Gerrard then made a fine mid-air block from Zola to stop the Bloom-St John cries of "Yessss!" in mid-sentence before the Italian midfielder finished the Toffees off in the last minute having side-footed home in acres of space. It was sad to have lost the tournament we were hosting but ultimately the result was of no consequence. What was more important was what we learned from the players on show. Although the first half was deadly dull, the youthful Everton line-up proved adept at containing a (on paper) superior Chelsea side. However, the real signs of things to come came from the performances of Ferguson, Barmby and Speed who, hopefully along with Oster, will form the nucleus of Everton's attack for the coming season.
Without reading too much into a pre-season friendly tournament, old worries do still persist, though. Unsworth still looks a shadow of the player he was 2-3 years ago, Gerrard continues to do his confidence and, consequently, his future any good with another costly error and Tony Grant looked both lost and clueless for much of his first-half outing.
|Zola puts foot on accelerator to drive Chelsea forward|
|Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph|
THE aura of confidence surrounding Chelsea shows no signs of fading. Yesterday
Ruud Gullit's cosmopolitan FA Cup winners retained their
International Tournament trophy with an increasingly exciting 3-1 victory
over the hosts, Everton.
The first period had been notable mainly for Andy Hinchcliffe's premature departure, protecting a thigh strain. The England full-back was making his return after nine months' absence following cruciate ligament surgery.
As the half drew to a close, Gianluca Vialli missed awfully but made amends after 57 minutes, beating Paul Gerrard, following good work by Paul Hughes. Everton equalised when Duncan Ferguson, climbing high, headed in Graham Stuart's cross with trademark power.
Chelsea responded by moving effortlessly up a gear with Gianfranco Zola, the Footballer of the Year, inevitably and inspirationally to the fore. When Gerrard palmed out a Frank Sinclair centre, Zola was on hand to sweep Chelsea ahead. Balance and precision were again witnessed with Zola's second, a low shot to which Gerrard had no answer.
Gullit took the opportunity to use some of his young English players. Jody Morris, Mark Nicholls and Danny Granville all started though the feel and gradual fluidity remained distinctly Italian.
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|