Football: Sheffield United's European hopes fade in loss to Everton

Sheffield United defender Enda Stevens (left) in action with Everton striker Theo Walcott. PHOTO: AFP

SHEFFIELD (REUTERS) - Sheffield United's Europa League qualification hopes took a hammer blow after a second-half goal from Richarlison guided visitors Everton to a 1-0 win in their Premier League clash on Monday (July 20).

After a cagey start at Bramall Lane, Everton created the best opportunity of the opening half with Dominic Calvert-Lewin's header smashing the post from close range.

The visitors broke the deadlock straight after halftime when Gylfi Sigurdsson's free kick was headed in by Brazilian forward Richarlison for his 15th goal in all competitions this season.

"The goal was down to Richarlison's movement and header. The way he guided it into the corner was top class," Sigurdsson said.

David McGoldrick's immediate effort to equalise was blocked inside the box as the Blades rallied without managing to test Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the closing stages of the match.

The result leaves United eighth in the table on 54 points from 37 games, two points behind seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, who host Crystal Palace later on Monday.

To secure a place in the Europa League next season, United need three stars to align: They must win their final game of the season at Southampton; Wolves must lose both of their remaining games; and Chelsea must win the FA Cup to deny Arsenal a Europa League spot.

Despite losing a second consecutive game, Blades boss Chris Wilder said his players have "ridiculously overachieved" in the club's first season back in the top flight since 2006-07.

"We have overachieved and there are quite a lot of clubs that would want to swap places with us," he said.

"I thought we deserved something from the game. We let ourselves down with the quality at the top end of the pitch." Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are 11th in the standings after their first win in five league games.

"The spirit was really good... the players know really well what our supporters ask for on the pitch - to have a good spirit and fight, and we showed that today," said Ancelotti.

"We are at the end of the season but this fantastic spirit can be a good sign for the future."

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