Europa League round-up: Eto'o saves Everton while Demba Ba denies Tottenham a win
Samuel Eto’o popped up with just eight minutes remaining to hand Everton a precious point in Thursday's 1-1 draw with FC Krasnodar.
Cameroonian striker Eto’o cancelled out Krasnodar's Brazilian forward Ari's opener to earn Roberto Martinez’s men some reward from their journey - of almost two and a half thousand miles - to southern Russia.
Ari celebrating his opener for the Russian club. Photo: AFP
Brazilian Ari put Krasnodar ahead two minutes before the break, finishing past Tim Howard after Phil Jagielka had inadvertently helped an Odil Ahmedov ball into his path.
It could have been all over for Everton in the 66th minute when another Brazilian Wanderson, just on as a substitute, weaved his way through in the box and hit the bar from eight yards out.
The visitors rode their luck and veteran Eto’o brought them level with time running out.
Eto’o, familiar with Russia from his two-year spell with Anzhi Makhachkala, played the ball out to Leighton Baines on the right before continuing his run and connecting with the full-back’s cross from the edge of the six-yard box.
The result leaves the Toffees with four points from two matches in Group H after their 4-1 thumping of Wolfsburg a fortnight ago.
They next face Lille who drew with Wolfburg 1-1 in Germany on the same night.
Toffees showed incredible character
“I am pleased because I thought Krasnodar played very well,” Martinez told ITV.
“They started with a lot of energy but I am very pleased with the manner we stayed in the game. We showed incredible character.”
Martinez has promised to put all his resources into trying to win the Europa League, although he still made five changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Liverpool in last weekend’s Merseyside derby.
Eto’o, Darron Gibson, Aiden McGeady, Christian Atsu and Leon Osman were all handed starts for the meeting with Krasnodar, who started their very first European campaign in the second qualifying round in mid-July.
Harry Kane's goal was not enough tp win the game. Photo: Reuters
Tottenham were ahead against Besiktas thanks to Harry Kane’s 27th-minute strike at White Hart Lane.
But the Turks grabbed a deserved point one minute from time, when former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba converted a penalty awarded after Vlad Chiriches had handled.
Demba Ba leveling the game with a penalty. Photo: AFP
Elsewhere, Napoli won 2-0 at Slovan Bratislava in Group I thanks to goals from Marek Hamsik and Gonzalo Higuain, while fellow Serie A side Fiorentina beat Dinamo Minsk 3-0 in Belarus.