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SCOREBOARD

Everton secures fifth straight EPL home win in victory over relegated Sheffield United

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LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Everton signed off its season at Goodison Park by enjoying a jeopardy-free 1-0 victory over already-relegated Sheffield United in the English Premier League on Saturday.

With safety already secured and nothing to play for except a club record-tying fifth consecutive home win without conceding, there was no nerve-jangling, nail-biting finale to its last home game of the campaign unlike recent times.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s first goal in five months ensured fans could, for the first time in a long time, savor their sendoff to the players, with all the anxiety reserved for matters off the field because of uncertainty over the sale of the club.

Twelve of the matchday squad will be either out of contract in the next month or entering their final year, with on-loan Leeds winger Jack Harrison — having played his last game for the club after sustaining an injury — and Dele Alli, who has not featured since August 2022, also set to depart.

Two others — Jarrad Branthwaite and Amadou Onana — are already being linked with other clubs, and 777 Partners’ proposed long-running takeover of the club appears to be on the brink of collapse.

At least the season is finishing positively on the field under manager Sean Dyche. Since the beginning of April, only Arsenal and Manchester City have more points than Everton’s 17. While this was typical end-of-season fare, it did not bother fans who have had to endure relegation escapes in their final home fixture in the previous two campaigns.

Victory took Everton to 40 points. Without being deducted eight points for financial breaches, the team would have been pushing for a top-half spot.

Sheffield United was already assured of finishing in last place and conceded its record 101st goal of the campaign.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer