ROBERTO MartÃnez hailed an â€œincredible resultâ€ after Samuel Etoâ€™oâ€™s late strike earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar.
Evertonâ€™s indifferent form appeared to be continuing in Russia as they were outplayed and fell behind to Ferreira Ariâ€™s goal. But just like in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, Everton fought back.
â€œI am pleased because Krasnodar played well, started with energy and pressed high up,â€ said MartÃnez. â€œI am pleased with the manner in which we stayed in the match. We showed incredible character to wait and get ourselves in the game. We finished the second half strong, energy levels were in our favour and itâ€™s an incredible result for us.â€
With Everton back in Europe after a five-year absence, MartÃnez needs as much experience as he can â€“ something the 33-year-old Etoâ€™o provides. â€œItâ€™s really important and thatâ€™s why this is such a fantastic learning curve for us,â€ the Everton manager added.
â€œIf you come to a place like today itâ€™s easy not to be yourself and thatâ€™s where you need the experience of waiting for your moment. Samuel has that.â€
Etoâ€™o enjoyed his return to Russia, with the former Anzhi Makhachkala player stabbing in Leighton Bainesâ€™s cross after 82 minutes to ensure Everton took a point from a game in which they had largely been second best.
Krasnodar took a deserved lead in the 43rd minute through the Brazilian striker Ari, who capitalised on a mistake by Phil Jagielka â€“ the visitorsâ€™ goalscoring hero from Saturdayâ€™s derby draw at Liverpool â€“ to fire in. The goal was a soft one to concede from Evertonâ€™s point of view. Odil Ahmedov lofted the ball into the box and it was inadvertently flicked by Jagielka into the path of Ari, who made no mistake in rifling past Tim Howard.
MartÃnez introduced Romelu Lukaku for Christian Atsu at half-time but it was Krasnodar who again presented the danger as the second half got under way. They came close to making it 2-0 when the substitute WÃ¡ndersonâ€™s shot hit the crossbar.
Krasnodar, only founded in 2008, had enjoyed an impressive debut European campaign up to this point, scoring 21 goals and conceding only three in seven games, a sequence which featured a qualifying victory over Real Sociedad and a draw at Lille in the opening group game.
They looked dangerous from the off, with the winger Ricardo Laborde much to the fore. Mauricio Pereyra fired a shot too high, while Marat Izmailovâ€™s flick from close range went just over.
Ahmedov had a strike deflected behind for a corner and Laborde flashed the ball across the area, with Ari just unable to apply a finish. Howard did well to dive and parry a drilled Izmailov effort, and after Ahmedov fired wide, the Everton goalkeeper got down again to ensure Artur Jedrzejczykâ€™s shot went past the post.
Everton registered their first real attempt on goal when the former Spartak Moscow player Aiden McGeady tried his luck from outside the box with a shot that was turned behind by an alert home goalkeeper Andriy Dykan.
Gareth Barry then curled a shot from similar range, bringing another diving save from Dykan and, with Everton looking like they were starting to dominate, John Stones looped a header off target from McGeadyâ€™s cross.
Krasnodar pressed again but the 400 or so Everton fans who made the 2,000-mile plus journey to the Kuban Stadium returned home happy thanks to the late intervention of Etoâ€™o, an equaliser which leaves Everton with four points after two Group H matches. – The Guardian