LIVERPOOL, England (AP) Arouna Kone got the match ball and a contract extension.
The 31-year-old striker’s hat trick on Sunday powered Everton to its biggest Premier League win in eight years, routing Sunderland 6-2.
”Today was the most complete 90 minutes he has had and it was a phenomenal 90 minutes because it triggers an extension to his contract,” Everton coach Roberto Martinez said.
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Kone’s first treble in English football was just reward for the players’ perseverance after a serious knee injury affected the first two years of the Ivorian’s career at Everton having followed Martinez from Wigan in 2013.
”It has been as difficult as you can get,” Martinez said. ”It was a career-threatening injury. His attitude, his focus, never changed and he never chose to blame anyone and anything.”
Sunderland had pulled level at 2-2 by the 50th minute – through Jermain Defoe’s volley and Steven Fletcher’s header – but Sebastian Coates’ own goal then set Everton back on the path to ending a three-game winless run in the league.
Romelu Lukaku netted Everton’s fourth before Kone completed his treble, with two goals adding to his first-half strike. The opener for eighth-place Everton was provided in the 19th minute by Gerard Deulofeu, who went on to provide two assists in a game where the influence of the livewire winger proved decisive.
It was Everton’s most emphatic win since routing Sunderland 7-1 in November 2007. The current Sunderland side remains in the relegation zone having lost two of Sam Allardyce’s three matches in charge.
”I am obviously concerned about the lack of understanding in certain periods of the game with the team, particularly when we got back to 2-2,” Allardyce said. ”There was nothing wrong with what we had been doing up to then apart from we gave a very soft first goal away which could easily have been avoided. The second goal was a cracker from Kone.”
The day’s other game couldn’t match the Goodison Park encounter for goals. Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle scored in the first half as Southampton beat promoted Bournemouth 2-0 in a rare meeting of the south-coast rivals.
”We worked hard, they were trying to frustrate us,” Pelle told British broadcaster Sky Sports. ”We have to maybe improve some parts when we are two or three up, but we were good in the defensive part.”
Southampton coped for the last 10 minutes with 10 men after Victor Wanyama was sent off after being shown a second yellow card.