football

Everton taken to extra time by Rotherham before Doucouré spares blushes


The Everton assistant manager, Duncan Ferguson, said his side’s failure to finish off Rotherham left them fearful of a late FA Cup shock after the home side scraped through only after extra-time at Goodison Park.

Carlo Ancelotti made eight changes and his side laboured against a side second-bottom of the Championship before Abdoulaye Doucouré scored the winner three minutes into the additional period.

Matt Olosunde had cancelled out Cenk Tosun’s early opener as the visitors pushed Everton all the way.

“It was a tough match so you are always fearing the worst when they got a corner in the last minute, so it was a wee bit of relief,” Ferguson said. “We started the game well, got an early goal, Cenk took his goal well. We had the best of the first 25 minutes and then Rotherham came back, pushed us all the way and got the equaliser. It was a tough game for us and one we were delighted to get through.”

Ancelotti left out top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, and their replacements were second-best for much of the match.

Rotherham, with just one win in their previous nine games, made six changes of their own but were more cohesive and deserved more than just Olosunde’s first senior goal for their efforts.

Doucouré scored the eventual winner three minutes into the additional period but it was far from comfortable for Ancelotti’s side, who progressed to the third round for only the second time in five seasons.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne felt had his side won, there would have been no complaints. “I was really pleased. The only disappointment for me was the first five or 10 minutes. We showed them too much respect, which I warned them about in the dressing room,” he said. “We took the game to them after we conceded and we were the better side in the first half.

“We could have got a 2-1 in and no one would have complained about it. For us to come here and compete against a team three or four points off the top of the Premier League shows how well we performed so I am proud of that.”

What began with the appearance of a behind-closed-doors friendly arranged primarily for James Rodríguez to sharpen his fitness, given free rein by Ancelotti to roam where he liked, turned into something of an ordeal for Everton. His movement pulled Rotherham’s defence out of position to allow the 19-year-old Anthony Gordon to turn his marker, and his through-ball down the inside-left channel was dinked over the advancing Jamal Blackman by Tosun in the ninth minute.





Hazy sunshine at shadows during the game at Goodison.



Hazy sunshine at shadows during the game at Goodison. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

The Turkish striker’s goal should have given the hosts a platform but in the 30 minutes to half-time Rotherham were the better side, with Robin Olsen making a double save from Olosunde and then Dan Barlaser, before Matt Crooks flicked a header on to the roof of the net.

Ten minutes into the second half, they got their reward. Olusunde capitalised on a weak Tom Davies header back towards his own goal to turn and fire a shot across Olsen and inside the far post.

Ancelotti responded by sending on Doucouré, Bernard, Yerry Mina and Gylfi Sigurdsson in an attempt to change the game.

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Tosun thought he had won it three minutes from time by diverting in Rodríguez’s free-kick, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside. There was to be no denying Doucouré, though, who converted Rodríguez’s pass to send Everton through.

Bernard should have killed off the game but hit the post but the visitors could not force another equaliser.



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