Everton scraped past Championship outfit Hull City on Saturday evening as the Toffees advanced to the FA Cup fourth round with a 3-2 win after extra time.
Rafael Benitez’s side went behind in the first minute but later surged into a 2-1 lead before a stunning second half equaliser from Ryan Longman sent the game into an extra 30 minutes. Andros Townsend eventually sealed the victory for the visitors with another excellent goal.
Benitez made four changes to the side which lost 3-2 to Brighton in the Premier League last weekend, with plenty of attention on debutant Vitaliy Mykolenko. However, it was Andre Gomes who was particularly impressive.
The Portuguese midfielder was a key presence in the middle of the park for the visitors, winning 12 duels as well as boasting an 82% passing accuracy rate. Moreover, the 28-year-old also contributed four tackles in his 88 minutes on the pitch.
However, Gomes’ main contribution was scoring Everton’s second goal to give them the lead, having started horrendously.
Jonjoe Kenny’s cross found the 28-year-old unmarked in the box, who tucked the ball away with a powerful header past Hull goalkeeper Nathan Baxter in the 31st minute to score his first goal since February 2019.
The £18m-rated Portugal midfielder has had another torrid time with injury this season, with a calf problem forcing the midfielder to miss more than two months of action. That said, even before his injury, he had only made the Everton squad in the Premier League on three occasions out of a possible five, putting together just 65 minutes of action.
However, it was the horrific ankle injury suffered in November 2019 which has proven to be Gomes’ biggest obstacle during his Goodison Park tenure.
Almost two years on since his miraculously prompt return, the midfielder is still struggling to put together a regular run of games, having started 17 of Everton’s 38 Premier League matches last term and only managing two starts in the top flight this season.
Hopefully for Gomes, his performance against Hull was a signal to Benitez and may prove to be the catalyst for a regular run of games in the second half of the season as the Toffees look to pull away from the bottom end of the table.
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