A New Zealand-born midfielder has scored a sensational goal at Everton’s Goodison Park – two minutes after being sent off!
The bizarre sequence of events came six minutes into added time of Everton’s 3-2 third-round English FA Youth Cup win against Fulham when a melee broke out involving players from both teams.
When the referee regained control, he sent off Everton defender Matty Mallon for his reckless tackle that started the fracas, and he then brandished a red card at Kiwi Matt Dibley-Dias (17) who was waiting to take the resulting free-kick for Fulham.
Fulham’s captain intervened and assured the referee he had made a mistake, leading to the reversal of the red card and the sending off of team mate Luke Harris.
By the time Dibley-Dias lined up his free-kick the game was into its eighth minute of added time.
From an acute angle, he fired the ball into the far corner of the Everton net, a spectacular but purely consolation goal.
Who is Matt Dibley-Dias?
Lower Hutt-born player signed his first professional football contract with London club Fulham this year.
When signing him, Fulham development manager Huw Jennings said Dibley-Dias had “the skill of a Brazilian and the strength of a New Zealand rugby player’’ – and had secured a three-year deal English Championship club.
Dibley-Dias is eligible to represent four countries – New Zealand, Brazil, Portugal and England.
His profile on Fulham’s website says the central midfielder “chose his international allegiance as Brazil at the start of the 2021-22 season’’.
His grandfather Manoel José Dias (dubbed Manoelzinho) averaged a goal every two games for leading Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Corinthians in the 1960s.
While Dibley-Dias has said “the dream is to play for the Brazilian national team’’ is his ultimate goal, his immediate future is with Fulham.
“I think this is the best place for me to improve as a player and further my career as a footballer.”
He scored four goals in 19 games for Fulham’s under-18 team last season and earned a reputation for pinpoint freekicks, scoring three times from the set-piece.
Matt Dibley-Dias … a three-year deal with Fulham.
More Fulham connections
Three All Whites who have all been on Fulham’s books:
- Simon Elliott (at Fulham 2006-08, playing 12 games), 69 internationals
- Chris James (at Fulham 2005-07, no games), 22 internationals
- James Musa (at Fulham 2012-13, no games), 3 internationals
Two teenagers from the Ricki Herbert Football Academy have also trained at the Fulham academy in the last three years – Mirko Brinkmann from Tauranga, and Albie Francis-Alles, from New Plymouth.