Derailed the British phlegm, went to the grass. To hell with neatness, image, decorum and fancy ‘Premier League product’. Emotion has no nationality. And it can’t be cramped. Less if it is football. But they can’t blame anyone, they made it up. Demarai Gray fired a precise – and beautiful – cross from the right, Calvert-Lewin literally flew in for it and headed it into the net. From losing 2-0 to Crystal Palace, Everton went on to win 3-2 and the stadium, already a pressure cooker from before kick-off, virtually exploded.
The old entrails of Goodison Park, standing there since 1892, trembled with the weight, jumps and fury of 39,000 crazed, riotous blue fans. But they held on. The game had not ended, there were still five minutes to go and discount time, however, prey to an almost fierce relief, the fans pressed to jump the field and the security checkpoints in yellow jackets were overwhelmed by so much frenzy. In the shouting and the disarray, a few dozen fans sneaked onto the field to hug their players, an unusual scene in a model and glamorous competition, cared for as a national heritage. However, there was not even a hint of violence, it was all joy.
What should have been a bureaucratic end-of-season game played on a working Thursday to make up for a delayed date ended up being an exceptional event, a hymn to the love of colors, a bath of pride. “Everton belongs to the First Division and does not go away from the First Division”, the people of Chacaritense would sing.
Everton was saved
It must be explained: Everton, the oldest club in Liverpool and founder of the English League, shows as a crest being the second team with the most continuous years in the First Division. Uninterruptedly since 1954. Other greats went down and up later: Liverpool FC (since 1963), Manchester United (1976), Tottenham (1979), Chelsea (1990) and Manchester City (2002). His years of splendor are already a bit blurred, but he usually swings between sixth and tenth place. It does not swim in abundance and it does not pass needs either. However, two changes in coaches (Ancelotti left, Rafa Benítez took over, they took him out and Frank Lampard arrived to save the shot), some bad decisions, many injuries and a pile of defeats put him on the edge of the precipice. If he lost on Thursday he was semi-condemned to “B”, as we say in these suburbs. And on the last date it is his turn with Arsenal in London. To make matters worse, five blocks away, Liverpool FC celebrates everything, it is a week away from being able to achieve a historic quadruplet: League Cup, English Cup, Premier and Champions. He gave to cut his veins.
The fans, aware of the extreme situation, came en masse and gave their eleven fighters a champions’ reception. Blue torches, flags, chants, all the thunderous repertoire to shake discouragement and temper the chests. A colossal atmosphere. But all the cards kept coming wrongly shuffled. Richarlison’s goal-scented free kick hit the top of the crossbar and went wide. To make matters worse, in a free kick from the side, Palace opened the scoring, a blow that extinguished the fervor. And a while later, a bad start by the always impetuous goalkeeper Pickford, the England National Team starter, became the second away goal. Everton 0 – Crystal Palace 2. The ghost of the “B”, that derision that terrifies us well-born fans, began to fly over the sky of Goodison Park. That’s how the first half went, not even wanting to eat a choripán at the break.
And the second started the same, Everton fighting for a goal, to at least see if the chimera of a tie was possible. Pushing, without scheme or order. Until, at 54′, the magnificent defender Michael Keane hit a left-footed shot from inside the area and changed the score: 1-2. The game had started with a dapper and offensive 3-4-3 from Everton and a 4-3-3 from Palace, but the tactics last until hearts burn, there they fly through the air. The illusion to rescue at least one point drove the people crazy – all of Everton – and the stadium was transformed into a human tsunami and Everton went to battle with the soul, to fight with a knife, what a 3-4-3 or relay neither zone two nor transitions. It was to go for the tie or leave the leather there.
And the blessed goal came. In one of the many interludes in the area, Richarlison hit him with a left cross and the ball went in. He entered, yes…! A miracle and 2 to 2. The celebration was crazy, big people hugging, twisting, some stumbling, breaking their vocal cords for a good cause: Everton. There the game became anarchic, wild, wild, and the show became volcanic and fascinating, absolutely extraordinary. The blue coats continued the offensive and at minute 85 God gave a full demonstration that he is a fan of Everton, came that heavenly goal by Calvert-Lewin that made it 3 to 2 and general madness.
Eleven thousand two hundred kilometers from Liverpool, just looking at it on my computer, I also shouted and celebrated the goal. Excited, I called a friend to ask if he was seeing it.
-I’m not working. What do you do on a Thursday at five in the afternoon watching an Everton game…?
It stopped me. I did not know to say.
-What happens is that I wasn’t doing anything, I put on the TV and…
I lied, I did the one about the postman, who on the off day goes out for a walk. But I won the lottery. It was not a title, it will hardly remain in Everton’s collective memory as “the day we saved ourselves from descent”. Of course: they will never forget that night of happiness and delirium. The players helped, however, the figure of the night was the people, the grandstand won. “The love for a shirt is not chosen, it is contracted, like illnesses and marriage”, said Roberto Fontanarrosa, the genius from Rosario. As it is. Do the English realize the little game they invented…?
Liverpool can win the Premier this afternoon and the Champions on Saturday. Let them win, Everton is done.
For the time
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