Everton remain unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League group stages, as the Premier League side rallied to snatch a point away at Russian side FK Krasnodar.
[RELATED: Europa League standings]
Trailing after Ari’s strike for the home side just before half time, Everton were second best for large swathes of the game but equalized in the last 10 minutes as Samuel Eto’o popped up to make it 1-1.
With the hard-fought point, the Toffees remain top of Group H with four points from their opening two games. Hardly a vintage display by Roberto Martinez’s team but they will take a draw and head back to England with a smile on their face.
Tim Howard made a superb save early on as he dove to his right and batted away a Marat Izmailov drive from the edge of the box. Soon after Aiden McGeady hit a low shot which forced Andriy Dykan into a very good stop down low. Everton began to pile on the pressure as Gareth Barry curled an effort towards the far corner which Dykan saved again, then John Stones looped a header just wide in the 28th minute.
As half time approached Krasnodar went ahead as Ari took advantage of some slack defending by the Toffees, as a clipped ball caught out Phil Jagielka and Stones and let the Brazilian striker in to make it 1-0.
Martinez brought on Romelu Lukaku for Christian Atsu at the break but it didn’t make difference as a scrappy second half ensued with both teams wasteful in possession. A mistake by Jagielka let in Ari again and only a last-ditch block stopped Krasnodar from benefiting. Then, with his first touch after coming off the bench, Wanderson hit the crossbar after dribbling past four defenders. The Russian Premier League side were inches away from going 2-0 up.
That close call injected life into the Toffees as their 370 travelling fans had something to cheer about in the 82nd minute after Leighton Baines picked up the ball on the right and whipped in a superb cross to the back post which Eto’o tucked home to grab Martinez’s men a great point on the road in Russia.
Krasnodar: Dikan, Jedrejczyk, Sigurdsson, Granqvist, Kalesin, Gazinskiy, Izmailov (Wanderson, 65′), Ahmedov, Pereyra (Petrov, 83′), Laborde (Mamaev 71′), Ari
Goal: Ari (42′)
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Stones, Jagielka, Gibson, Barry, Atsu (Lukaku, 45′), McGeady, Osman, Eto’o
Goal: Eto’o (82′)