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Guidolin off to winning Swansea start

AFP logoAFP 24-01-2016
Francesco Guidolin (right) celebrates with Swansea's first team coach Alan Curtis at the final whistle against Everton at Goodison Park on January 24, 2016 © Provided by AFP Francesco Guidolin (right) celebrates with Swansea's first team coach Alan Curtis at the final whistle against Everton at Goodison Park on January 24, 2016

Francesco Guidolin's first game in charge of Swansea saw them win 2-1 away to Everton on Sunday as the Welsh club moved four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

A hard fought victory saw Swansea climb to 15th place. just three positions behind Everton, who've now won just once in their last 10 league games and only three times in their past 14 at Goodison Park.

Swansea went ahead though Gylfi Sigurdsson's 17th-minute penalty but Everton were level nine minutes later when Gareth Barry's near-post flick was turned into his own net by the Swans' Jack Cork.

But Swansea regained the lead in the 34th minute.

Left-back Neil Taylor burst clear and released Andre Ayew, whose shot deflected in off the sliding John Stones.

It appeared Swansea defender Ashley Williams may have handled the ball in the build-up but referee Anthony Taylor was happy that the contact was not deliberate and waved play on.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (2nd left) celebrates with Wayne Routledge after scoring the opening goal for Swansea © Provided by AFP Gylfi Sigurdsson (2nd left) celebrates with Wayne Routledge after scoring the opening goal for Swansea

For highly-regarded England central defender Stones, this was a match to forget as it was his under-hit backpass that led to Swansea's penalty, with goalkeeper Tim Howard hacking down Ayew as he tried to clear.

There were several occasions when Stones was guilty of overplaying the ball, whereas Swansea centre-back Williams adopted a more traditional approach by concentrating on getting the ball clear.

Everton had to make two substitutions before the break as both Muhamed Besic and Kevin Mirallas went off injured.

Swansea were forced to fight a rearguard action in the second half as Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu got into the game by producing several excellent crosses.

Guidolin responded by sending on defender Jordi Amat for winger Wayne Routledge and Eder for Ayew in an attempt to bolster Swansea at the back.

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Andre Ayew scored Swansea's second when his shot deflected in off the sliding John Stones © Provided by AFP Andre Ayew scored Swansea's second when his shot deflected in off the sliding John Stones

But the Toffees were unable to take advantage of Deulofeu's fine play, squandering a host of chances, with one of their best coming with the final kick of the game when Seamus Coleman lofted the ball over the crossbar from six yards out.

This was a notable win for Swansea as it meant they had recorded back-to-back league successes for the first time this season following last week's 1-0 defeat of Watford.

As well as giving Italian boss Guidolin a victory in his first game in charge, this result was also Swansea's first league victory over Everton, whose manager Roberto Martinez made his name in charge of the Welsh side.

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