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Stunning Everton Comeback Secures Survival

Stunning Everton Comeback Secures Survival

Everton secured their Premier League status with an incredible fightback where they came from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace.

The hosts, who will continue their 68-year stay in the top flight, looked like they were heading for defeat after Palace scored twice in the first half through Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew, reports the BBC.

But conjuring up a fighter’s spirit once more and spurred on by they vociferous support, Everton turned the game around in the second half, thanks to a more attacking approach.

Nine minutes after the break Michael Keane smashed in to give Frank Lampard’s side hope, and when Richarlison found the bottom corner with a miscued shot with 15 minutes left, it sent Goodison Park into raptures as a precious point looked likely.

Yet the best was to come with five minutes left. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored his first goal since August against Brentford last Sunday during an injury-hit season, sparked pandemonium with a diving header from Demarai Gray’s free-kick.

The excitement boiled over as fans descended on the pitch to celebrate, with blue mist shrouding the stadium as smoke flares were let off.

The crucial result avoided the kind of final-day nerves that Everton fans had to experience in 1998 and 1994, where the team also preserved their Premier League status.

This time, with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday, they can at least enjoy the fact that however tortuous this season has been, they will remain in the top flight, and will hope to build on the spirit which the team has showed in the closing stages of the campaign.

The party started at the final whistle, with thousands of fans flooding onto the pitch, letting off more smoke flares, saluting their team and manager Lampard.

But he and the club will hope they will never have to cope with a similar scare again given lavish spending on players and a move to a new stadium in 2024.

And Chelsea all but secured a third-place finish in the Premier League with a draw against Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues, beaten in the FA Cup final by Liverpool at the weekend, fell behind early on when James Maddison curled a fine effort beyond goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

However, Marcos Alonso equalised towards the end of the first half when he was picked out superbly by Reece James and volleyed in.

Chelsea dominated the second half and had numerous chances to take all three points.

Hakim Ziyech went close with a free kick while Romelu Lukaku – who had been largely quiet – headed wide.

But Christian Pulisic failed to convert the best chance for a winner when he sliced wide from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.

The result means Chelsea stay third, three points ahead of Tottenham, but with a vastly superior goal difference.

Thomas Tuchel’s side finish the season at home to relegated Watford on Sunday (16:00 BST) while Leicester, who are ninth, will look cement a top-10 finish when they host Southampton at the same time.

At Villa Park Burnley head into the final day of the season with their Premier League fate in their own hands after securing a hard-earned point.

Ashley Barnes put the Clarets ahead from the penalty spot after Emiliano Buendia’s clumsy foul on Maxwel Cornet.

But Argentine Buendia made amends with a sweeping finish inside the box after being picked out by John McGinn.

The point lifted Burnley out of the relegation zone – and saw Leeds drop to 18th – before Sunday’s final games.

Keeper Nick Pope made a string of fine saves to frustrate Villa, his one-handed stop to keep out substitute Bertrand Traore’s header the pick of the lot.

The visitors finished with 10 men, though, when ex-Villa defender Matt Lowton was sent off in stoppage time after a foul on Calum Chambers.

Burnley and Leeds are now locked on 35 points, but the Clarets’ -18 goal difference is far superior to Leeds’ -38.

While Burnley entertain 12th-placed Newcastle at the weekend, Leeds are at 11th-placed Brentford.

Everton, who were two points above the relegation zone with two games to play, are safe after coming from 2-0 behind to defeat Crystal Palace 3-2 on Thursday.

RESULTS

Everton 3 – 2 Crystal Palace

Aston Villa 1 – 1 Burnley

Chelsea 1 – 1 Leicester

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