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Romelu Lukaku scored twice on his home debut for Everton as they went fourth in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park.
Lukaku, who is on loan from Chelsea, produced a magnificent performance in his first start to help maintain his side's unbeaten start to the top-flight campaign. Newcastle were condemned to their second successive league defeat as a first-half double from Lukaku, which sandwiched a goal from Ross Barkley, wrapped up the win for Everton. Newcastle substitute Yohan Cabaye netted in spectacular fashion early in the second half before Loic Remy reduced the deficit further late on, but Newcastle could not complete the comeback despite their best efforts.
Everton made two changes to the side who started in the 3-2 win at West Ham United last weekend, with Lukaku, who scored the winner at Upton Park, and James McCarthy coming in for Nikica Jelavic and Steven Naismith. Midfielder Gareth Barry made his 500th Premier League appearance. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew brought in Cheick Tiote and Yoan Gouffran in place of Cabaye and Papiss Cisse after their home defeat by Hull City.
The hosts started brightly, Lukaku putting the ball in the net in the first minute only to see the flag raised for offside. Just three minutes later, he put Roberto Martinez's men ahead, as his Belgium team-mate Kevin Mirallas beat Davide Santon to a loose ball before delivering a right-wing cross that Lukaku duly placed past Tim Krul.
Everton continued to push forward following the goal, and they twice came close to doubling their lead. Barkley fired wide from the edge of the area before Krul denied McCarthy after the visitors had given the ball away inside their own half.
Newcastle could not get to grips with the hosts’ high-tempo start, with Lukaku heavily involved in almost every attack. The 20-year-old had a key impact once again as Everton went two up. The striker played a clever pass into the path of Barkley, who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Pardew’s men were reeling and the home side looked to have sealed the three points eight minutes before the interval when Lukaku bagged his second of the game. The former Anderlecht man capitalised on confusion in the Newcastle defence to latch on to a long kick from Tim Howard, collecting the ball ahead of Krul before rounding Fabricio Coloccini and tucking the ball into an empty net.
Newcastle rarely troubled Everton in the first half, but after Pardew made two changes during the interval - Mike Williamson and Cabaye were brought on for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Hatem Ben Arfa - they pulled a goal back almost immediately. Cabaye fired a fine long-range strike into the top corner shortly after Gouffran had hit a post to give the visitors a glimmer of hope.
Everton responded well, with Lukaku spurning a chance for his hat-trick after he had again found a way in behind the Newcastle defence, but it was Pardew's side who dictated the majority of the play in the second period. Newcastle threatened a dramatic comeback when Remy tapped in from close range after latching on to Mathieu Debuchy's flick-on, but Everton clung on to seal victory.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "That's his [Lukaku’s]make-up, his strong and powerful, for a number nine to have that awareness around him, he's very gifted. He looked like a player enjoying his football and that's very important for his future.
"It's hard to explain how [Barkley]'s growing game by game. He's a very unique talent for an English boy. He controls many aspects of the game that you don't see. He's developing a very good understanding with Romelu. He's so eager to fulfill his potential.
"It's been a good start to the season ... it's a great target to get into the top four.”
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "The goals were poor, we were so poor defensively in the first half. We've got goals in the team, but we've got to tighten up. The inconsistencies being shown were disturbing, we managed in the second half to come out and start performing.
"We need to bring it together, it's no good bringing it in patches. We need to put in a consistent performance. In terms of the goals they were too easy, we have to make sure that we drill ourselves and we're right for Cardiff.
"He [Cabaye] is a class act, he was terrific in the second half. We need that sort of performance."
|22 Feb 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|09 Nov 2013||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|23 Nov 2013||v Liverpool (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|25 Mar 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|19 Oct 2013||v Hull (H)|