EPL leaders Everton crushed

Southampton, October 25

Premier League leaders Everton slumped to their first defeat of the season and lost Lucas Digne to a second-half red card as Danny Ings inspired Southampton to a 2-0 win at St. Mary’s Stadium today. Ings is Southampton’s top scorer this season but he turned provider against Everton, setting up James Ward-Prowse’s 27th-minute opener with a delicate through-ball and then crossing to the far post for strike partner Che Adams to score a deflected finish in the 35th.

Everton’s worst display of the season was capped by the 71st-minute sending-off of left back Digne, who raked his studs down the back of Kyle Walker-Peters’ leg as he chased after the Southampton right back. Two seasons ago, Digne scored a 25-yard (metre) own goal in a loss at Southampton.

Everton, who won their first four league games and drew their fifth against Liverpool last weekend, stayed top of the standings. However, only goal difference separates Everton from their Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

It was a first loss for Carlo Ancelotti’s team in nine games in all competitions.

Liverpool back on track

Diogo Jota completed Liverpool’s comeback to beat Sheffield United 2-1 after the defending champions failed to win their last two games.

But just a week after Liverpool wrote to the Premier League for an explanation of two contentious referrals in the Merseyside derby, the video assistant referee — this time Andre Marriner — found himself in the spotlight again.

He upgraded Fabinho’s tackle on Oli McBurnie from a free kick to a penalty despite the Brazilian appearing to win the ball right on the edge of the area, and Sander Berge put Sheffield United ahead from the spot in the 13th minute.

Liverpool escaped further penalty appeals before Roberto Firmino equalised in the 41st after Sadio Mane’s header was only palmed away by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Midway through the second half the VAR ruled out, correctly, a brilliant individual effort from Mohamed Salah.

However, the reprieve for the visitors was brief as Jota rose to head home Mane’s cross in the 64th for his second goal in four league matches for his new club.

Liverpool extended their unbeaten home league run to 62 matches, one short of equalling the club record from 1978 to 1981. — AP

Ajax’s 13-0 win is biggest in Dutch league

Amsterdam: Ajax routed VVV-Venlo 13-0 for the biggest victory in Dutch league history. All the goals came within 66 minutes as the margin of success eclipsed Ajax’s 12-1 victory over Vitesse in 1972 in the Eredivisie. Lassina Traore scored five times — the first Ajax player to do so in a league game since Marco van Basten in 1985 — and the 19-year-old forward also had three assists. It fell a goal short of matching the club’s record 14-0 win over Luxembourg Red Boys Differdange in 1984 in the now-defunct UEFA Cup. Ajax were leading only 4-0 at the time hosts VVV-Venlo had Christian Kum sent off in the 52nd minute. AP

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