Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Late equalizer helps Everton annoy Spurs

AFP , LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard saves a penalty shot by the Tottenham Hotspurs’ Jermain Defoe, left, during their Premier League match in Liverpool, England, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Australia midfielder Tim Cahill scored a late equalizer and Tim Howard saved Jermain Defoe’s stoppage time penalty as Everton came from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Sunday.

David Moyes’ injury-ravaged side looked dead and buried with 12 minutes to go at Goodison Park after second half strikes from Defoe and Michael Dawson put Spurs firmly in control.

However, Louis Saha came off the bench to reduce the deficit and Cahill headed home four minutes from full time.

Defoe had a chance to win it from the penalty spot, but the England striker’s kick was kept out by American goalkeeper Howard.

After three successive league defeats, Everton’s great escape will feel like a victory, although the Toffees are still just three points and three places above the relegation zone.

Tottenham would have gone third with a win, but stay fourth after a meltdown that capped a dispiriting week that also included a League Cup exit at Manchester United.

Everton’s lengthy injury list had deprived Moyes of nine potential first-team regulars including defenders Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka, so right-back Tony Hibbert had to play at center-back alongside Joseph Yobo.

It wasn’t long before Tottenham began to turn the screw on Everton’s under-manned defense. Peter Crouch fired over after Aaron Lennon’s pass cut open the home back-four, then Defoe completely wrong-footed Hibbert and brought a fine stop from Howard.

Nigeria international Yobo had been passed fit after a hamstring injury, but he lasted just 15 minutes before limping off with a recurrence of the problem as Moyes’ injury woes continued.

The lack of options at Moyes’ disposal became clear as he sent on Seamus Coleman, 21, for only his second Premier League appearance in place of Yobo.

Defoe always looked capable of tormenting the Everton defense and he took Niko Kranjcar’s clever pass in stride before poking his shot narrowly wide.

Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto was lucky to escape with a yellow card after appearing to scrape his boot down the back of Cahill’s head as the pair lay on the floor and then pushing the Australian and Marouane Fellaini.

Fellaini was also cautioned in the same incident and the Belgium midfielder could have been sent off seconds later for elbowing Crouch.

Defoe gave Tottenham the perfect start to the second half as he opened the scoring in the 47th minute.

Lennon whipped in a cross from the right and Defoe got ahead of Hibbert at the near post to turn in his 13th goal of the season.

Dawson made it 2-0 as he escaped Lucas Neill’s attentions to meet Kranjcar’s 59th minute corner with a diving header that flashed past Howard for his second goal in successive games.

But substitute striker Saha set up a dramatic finish when he volleyed in Coleman’s cross at the near post in the 78th minute.

Everton had been given a lifeline and Cahill equalized in the 86th minute with a low header from Leighton Baines’ cross.

That wasn’t the end of the drama. In the second minute of stoppage time, Crouch headed down to Wilson Palacios and Hibbert conceded a penalty with a clumsy barge on the midfielder.

A lengthy delay followed while Palacios received treatment and when Defoe finally stepped up to take the spot-kick his low strike was pushed away by Howard’s legs to cap a remarkable finale.

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