For match photos, scroll to photostream above left. For match stats click on the statistics tab. Manager reaction to follow.
Marouane Fellaini was involved in goals at both ends as Everton frustrated Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City in a 1-1 draw. Fellaini headed Everton, victors in eight of their previous 10 clashes with City, into a first-half lead but conceded a penalty to allow Carlos Tevez to level. The result preserved City’s unbeaten start to the season in the Premier League and prolonged their run of home games without defeat to 37, a sequence stretching back to a loss to Everton two years ago. It was also Everton’s seventh draw in their last nine games.
The match took some while to warm up and City suffered an early blow as Aleksandar Kolarov limped off after just six minutes. Manager Roberto Mancini had opted to rest Pablo Zabaleta but the Argentinian was summoned from the bench straightaway.
Joleon Lescott returned to the side, to face his former club, in place of Matija Nastasic. The England defender looked composed as he resumed his partnership with Vincent Kompany after more than a month out of the starting line-up.
Everton playmaker Leon Osman gave the City defence plenty to think about in the early stages without creating a clear-cut opening. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had to pick himself up from a collision with Edin Dzeko after coming to claim a cross from Maicon.
City threatened the Everton goal in the 20th minute when David Silva crossed and Dzeko headed wide. Tevez controlled well in the area but was unable to shoot and Dzeko inadvertently took the full force of a Samir Nasri shot in the back of his head.
Everton’s 33rd-minute opener came in familiar fashion as Leighton Baines, who passed a fitness test to feature, crossed. Kompany did well to divert the cross away from Nikica Jelavic but it dropped for Fellaini, who kneed the ball in at the second attempt at the far post after Joe Hart saved his initial header. It was the Belgian’s eighth goal of an impressive season.
That brought the game to life and City almost found an immediate equaliser as Tevez met a Nasri cross with a deft header that Howard did well to save. Gareth Barry then chested down another Nasri cross for Dzeko to turn and shoot but again Howard was alert.
City’s equaliser came after Dzeko tangled with Fellaini and went to ground. Referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot. Tevez made no mistake as he stepped up to tuck home his eighth of the campaign. Fellaini almost produced the perfect response in the final moments of the first half with a glancing header from a Steven Pienaar cross, but Hart saved.
City upped the tempo at the start of the second half but again it took time before the chances came, aside from a Tevez shot which was blocked by Phil Jagielka. Tevez almost broke away after a miskick by Distin but the defender recovered quickly to nick the ball away from the striker. Tevez also headed over but it was not until just after the hour that City seriously threatened again as Maicon burst down the field and forced Howard to parry a powerful 18-yard drive.
City decided to freshen up their attack by sending on Sergio Aguero. The game became scrappy as Everton’s hard-working defence did their best to repel City’s threat. Mario Balotelli also entered the action for the last 10 minutes in place of Dzeko and did inject a bit of energy into the side.
His first chance to aim at goal, however, was screwed well wide. Nasri then combined well with Silva in the area but could only win a corner. Everton went close in injury time from a Jelavic free-kick but Hart saved and the ball squirmed wide.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "Everton is always a difficult game because they work hard, they defend very well. In the second half we played better, probably deserved to score another goal. In the end we are not happy but the season is long and this doesn't change anything.
"If you don't pay attention you can lose three points and it is sometimes better to take one. In this moment we are not very strong with our strikers. We need them to score more goals.
"They are four top strikers but this can happen during the season. It is important they work hard like they worked today. Dzeko, Tevez, Sergio [Aguero], Mario [Balotelli] - in this moment we are like this but we will solve this problem."
Everton manager David Moyes: "We've been playing well in most of the games and we showed it again against the champions. I was pleased with that and then 20 minutes after half-time we knew we would have to weather it.
"Manchester City tend to get better in the second half and they did do. It was a good draw for us. We've had some bad draws but that was a good draw."
|09 Dec 2012||v Man Utd (H)|
|15 Dec 2012||v Newcastle (A)|
|22 Dec 2012||v Reading (H)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Sunderland (A)|
|29 Dec 2012||v Norwich (A)|
|01 Jan 2013||v Stoke (H)|