- Gremio beat Pachuca to advance to the final of UAE 2017
- Everton scores the winner in extra time
- The speedy winger lets us in on Renato Gaucho’s gameplan
When the final whistle sounded, the Gremio players and coaching staff came together to celebrate a win that took them through to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017. The man at the centre of the celebrations was substitute Everton, whose superb 95th-minute strike broke the deadlock and gave the Brazilians victory.
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) December 12, 2017
Minutes later the young winger was talking to the media, posing for photos with his player of the match award, and generally beaming away to everyone in the corridors of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. Among those he was smiling at was FIFA.com.
“It was important for us to make the final,” said the matchwinner. “It’s what we all wanted. We knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy game and that we were going to be nervous on our Club World Cup debut, but we were able to keep a lid on that and play well.”
That said, Mexico’s Pachuca caused the Brazilians more than a few problems in what was a very even game. Fortunately for Gremio, their coach Renato Gaucho had a plan, as Everton explained:
“We saw it in Pachuca’s previous game; their defenders are very tall but they’re slower than us. So, he knew that he needed the speed of Fernandinho and me. And we managed to get the better of their defence.”
“It’s tough being on the bench. You always suffer a bit more because you’re nervous and you want to be on the pitch.” Everton was waiting for an opportunity to come on and help out his team-mates, and it duly arrived midway through the second half. Pachuca were gaining the upper hand and coach Gaucho wanted more firepower up front to break through the Mexican side’s solid defence.
It was just the right move. The pacy Brazilian wide man surged down the left flank time and time again, causing the Pachuca defence, which had been compact up to then, to lose shape. In response, Tuzos boss Diego Alonso decided to bring centre-forward Franco Jara off at the start of extra time and bring on another centre-back, Robert Herrera, in his place. His new five-man defence were powerless to prevent what happened next, however.
“I didn’t really plan it. The ball came to me and I stuck my chest out to try and bring it under control,” explained Everton, who picked up possession right on the touchline. Joaquin Martinez attempted to win the ball from him but as it bounced from his chest, Everton suddenly found himself with space to exploit.
The Gremio man drove on into the Pachuca box, where he found Omar Gonzalez waiting for him. Everton jinked past him on to his right foot, looked up, and curled a fine, rising shot into the top corner.
Everton and his colleagues are in no doubt about who they want to meet in the final: Real Madrid. Though Los Blancos still have to get past Al Jazira in their semi-final, the wide man believes they will be providing the opposition in Saturday’s big match.
“It’s the final we’ve been dreaming about since the season started and since the Libertadores,” he explained. “It’s the final we want. We know they’re massive stars of world football, but on the pitch it’s 11 versus 11 and let’s just see who wins. We’re going to try and match them.”