LIVERPOOL (AFP) – Everton manager Frank Lampard broke his hand amidst wild celebrations of Alex Iwobi’s 99th-minute strike to beat Newcastle 1-0 and lift the 10-man Toffees three points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
A second-half interruption caused by a protestor tying himself to a goal post and a VAR review which led to Allan seeing red meant there were 14 minutes of added time at Goodison Park.
And it was Lampard’s men who took advantage as Dominic Calvert-Lewin teed up Iwobi to score the biggest goal of his much-maligned Everton career since a GBP40 million (USD52 million) move from Arsenal three years ago.
“I’ve broken my hand in the celebrations,” said Lampard, showing off a big bruise on his left hand.
“It was a bit sore and a bit shaky but I don’t care.”
Just a second win in 12 league games was also met with jubilant celebrations at full-time with the financial implications of relegation dire for Everton.
“The whole evening was a big night for us. Nothing is done, we have 11 games to go now but we were all waiting for this moment,” added Lampard.
“A night of fight, togetherness and that all exploded around the stadium when we scored.”
When this fixture was postponed in late December due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases, it was Newcastle who were rooted in the bottom three.
However, the Magpies’ defeat at Chelsea on Sunday was their first in 10 games as the investment of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund has made an instant impact in their first transfer window.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, a boyhood Everton fan, described this game as the biggest for the Toffees in 20 years given the consequences of going down.
The club are in the process of building a GBP500 million new stadium, due to open in 2024, and have already lost the sponsorship of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov after he was hit by sanctions from the United Kingdom government.
Usmanov’s long-term business partner and Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has pumped in over GBP500 million in signings since taking charge in 2016.
The Blues have precious little to show for that investment as a succession of managers have struggled to match Moshiri’s expectations.
An intense start from the hosts quickly fizzled out as Newcastle had the better of the first-half without creating many good chances.
Chris Wood headed straight at Asmir Begovic, while Fabian Schar nearly caught out the Bosnian with a free-kick from inside his own half.
The flow of a scrappy game was further interrupted by it taking seven minutes to free the protestor against fossil fuels from the post.