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Everton’s Samuel Eto’o Salvages Late Point Against Impressive Krasnodar

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ROBERTO Martínez hailed an “incredible result” after Samuel Eto’o’s late strike earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar.

Everton’s indifferent form appeared to be continuing in Russia as they were outplayed and fell behind to Ferreira Ari’s goal. But just like in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, Everton fought back.

“I am pleased because Krasnodar played well, started with energy and pressed high up,” said Martínez. “I 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 it’s an incredible result for us.”

With Everton back in Europe after a five-year absence, Martínez needs as much experience as he can – something the 33-year-old Eto’o provides. “It’s really important and that’s why this is such a fantastic learning curve for us,” the Everton manager added.

“If you come to a place like today it’s easy not to be yourself and that’s where you need the experience of waiting for your moment. Samuel has that.”

Eto’o enjoyed his return to Russia, with the former Anzhi Makhachkala player stabbing in Leighton Baines’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 – the visitors’ goalscoring hero from Saturday’s derby draw at Liverpool – to fire in. The goal was a soft one to concede from Everton’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.

Martínez 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 Wánderson’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 Izmailov’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 Jedrzejczyk’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 McGeady’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 Eto’o, an equaliser which leaves Everton with four points after two Group H matches. – The Guardian

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