Match Report: Chico Flores flourishes under watchful eye of Vicente Del Bosque

Everton 0 Swansea 0

Goodison Park

At least Vicente Del Bosque would have enjoyed his day. The man who has taken Spain to the greatest heights in their football history travelled to Merseyside to watch not Michu, as you might have expected, but Swansea’s centre-half, Chico Flores.

If, as Gary Lineker remarked, Michu at £2 million represents the “bargain of the century”, then Flores would count as a  buy one, get one free (almost).

He, too, cost £2m, which would pay Mario Balotelli’s wages for a few months. Alongside the Wales captain, Ashley Williams, the man from Cadiz produced the kind of performance that suggested he would not be out of place alongside Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol. It began with a fabulous tackle to dispossess Nikica Jelavic in the area and the standard was maintained thereafter.

In the second half it was Williams who threw his body around to counter any number of Everton attacks that did not quite possess the quality to force a breakthrough. 

This would have been much to the disappointment of a coachload from Liège who had travelled to see their former player, Marouane Fellaini, in action. They had a less rewarding trip than Del Bosque, although judging from the interior of the bus, their journey home would have been smoothed by rather more alcohol. 

Since Swansea had never beaten Everton in any competition and David Moyes’s side had not failed to score at Goodison Park since March, even before kick-off Swansea, playing their third match in seven days, would have taken a point. Not only did they take it, they probably deserved to and Moyes confessed that, when it comes to deciding European places, these results might count dearly.

“It could quite easily cost us if we don’t turn these games into wins,” said the Everton manager. “But we didn’t get it over the line today and that was the big thing.

“Swansea did a really good job in midweek against Chelsea and they did something similar here but we needed to play it a bit quicker and pass it a bit better.”

In many ways it was similar to the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge, where Michael Laudrup’s side swayed on the ropes, took the punches and delivered two lethal blows with just about the only chances they created.

Here, they had precisely two shots and one of them was the closest either side came to breaking through. Laudrup commented that had Del Bosque phoned him before booking his flight, he would have mentioned that Everton away would not be the best place to watch Michu. He expected a defensive battle and he got one.

However, nine minutes from the interval, Nathan Dyer found Michu (below) with a diagonal pass and one of the bargains of the century shot on the run from a reasonably tight angle. It touched Tim Howard’s gloves and struck the top of the crossbar.

For Everton, there was a litany of opportunities, not least one from Victor Anichebe that Michel Vorm half saved and Williams cleared off the line. Then, as the afternoon reached a climax of sorts, Fellaini saw a close-range header shovelled away at the near post and ran his hand through his considerable mass of hair. The boys from Belgium would have reached for another bottle of Duval.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Anichebe (Vellios, 84), Osman, Neville (Naismith, 70), Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic. 

Swansea (4-3-2-1): Vorm; Tiendalli, Flores, Williams, Davies; Agustien, Ki Sung-young, Hernandez (Routledge, 73);  Rangel, Michu (Graham, 81); Dyer (De Guzman, 58).

Referee: Phil Dowd

Man of the match: Flores (Swansea)

Match rating: 5/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits