Belfast Telegraph

Everton's Lukaku leaves it late to come to the rescue

Everton 1 - Crystal Palace 1

By Carl Markham

Romelu Lukaku's 50th goal in his 100th Everton appearance rescued a deserved late point for the Toffees in a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace.

The Belgium international, the club's £28m record signing, was not to be denied after twice hitting the frame of the goal prior to Scott Dann's 76th-minute header giving the visitors the lead.

In-form Lukaku made it seven goals in his last six matches nine minutes from time to prove, once again, just how valuable he is to Roberto Martinez's side.

It was no surprise that he benefited from a cross from fellow 21-year-old Gerard Deulofeu as the Catalan had provided five previous assists for his team-mate. Lukaku played down his personal achievement despite his late equaliser bringing up a half-century of Everton goals in little over two years at the club.

"I'm proud, but I'm a team player and I want to win games," he said. "I'm happy, but I'm also disappointed that we didn't get the three points.

"We had a lot of chances and we were unlucky with (hitting the) post and crossbar and then they scored out of the blue, but we did well.

"As a striker you always have to be focused, you always know that if you have quality players that you have to be there at the right time and luckily I was."

Everton had scored seven in their last two league matches, Palace five in 90 minutes against Newcastle, but if the watching Wayne Rooney, whose last Premier League goal came against former club Everton in mid-October, was expecting a goal glut he was disappointed.

Everton drew a blank in the first half, although Lukaku was unlucky when his shot rebounded off the far post.

His cushioned lay-off then set Deulofeu and Arouna Kone racing through for a two-on-one against Dann only for the former Barcelona graduate's touch let him down.

Palace thought they should have had a penalty when Gareth Barry tugged on Mile Jedinak's shirt in the second-half and the Everton man admits he was lucky. Barry said: "He got the run on me and I got hold of his shirt and he's gone down. Sometimes they're given, sometimes not."

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew added: "It was obvious that (Jedinak's) shirt was pulled, but the referee and linesman didn't see it. I was surprised."

Belfast Telegraph


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