Dominic Calvert-Lewin found the back of the net in the 95th minute to salvage a point for Everton in a highly entertaining game against Manchester United.
United had already beaten Everton twice this season, and the third meeting between the two started at a good tempo, with the hosts dominating possession while the visitors had the pacey threat of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up front.
With Everton changing to a midfield diamond, it looked like Manchester United’s best opportunities would come from out wide, and so it would prove as Marcus Rashford flighted a cross in from the right, the ball being met at the back post by veteran striker Edinson Cavani who nodded past Robin Olsen.
The Red Devils looked sharp after going ahead, and they would double their advantage in sensational style as the game ticked into first-half stoppage time. The Toffees afforded the ever influential Bruno Fernandes far too much time and space on the edge of the box, the Portuguese whipping a superb curling and dipping effort over the Swedish ‘keeper Olsen and into the back of the net.
Time after time in the first half, Everton failed to play the ball into their pacey front two, but within four minutes of the restart, the ball was played into Calvert-Lewin who raced in behind Harry Maguire. The English attacker got to the byline before cutting the ball back, with David de Gea only able to produce a weak parry straight into the path of Abdoulaye Doucoure who had the simple task of tapping home.
Three minutes later, and somewhat incredibly, the scores were level, Doucoure picking the ball up at the back post following a Lucas Digne cross, the Frenchman laying it back into the path of James Rodriguez who took a lovely touch before drilling home low past De Gea in fine fashion.
Everton retreated as they looked to keep it tight at the back and no doubt looked to hit in the break, but it was Manchester United who regained the lead with 20 minutes to play, Scott McTominay steering his glanced header beyond the questionable ‘keeping of Olsen following an excellent Luke Shaw free-kick.
United looked like they were on course to move level with Man City at the top of the table, but then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Calvert-Lewin reacted quickest at a free-kick, spinning his man and poking the ball past De Gea, who once again, really should have done better.
Everton’s 3 shots on target in the second half:
Absolutely clinical. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/vgAgFJE8Ee
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 6, 2021
Speaking afterwards, Carlo Ancelotti was understandably delighted with his players, revealing he told them to play with more ‘courage’ during his half time message.
“Wow, what a game,” the Italian told BBC Sport. “It was a fantastic emotion. What can I say? We deserved, even if we were shy in the first half. We played with more courage in the second half. We attacked and pressed forward. At the end, we deserved to have a point.
“The first half we started well and were in good control. Instead of passing forward we passed backwards. I told the players, ‘Play with more courage’. That is what they did second half.
“[James] Rodriguez had a problem at the end of the first half with a tight calf. But he said he wanted to try and after that he was tired. It was risk but I was confident in him. After 20 minutes I take him out.
“It was like a win but it is just one point. We competed against one of the best in the Premier League. We are not at the same level but we can fight and compete with our qualities. I am proud of my team.”
Next up for Everton is an FA Cup fifth-round tie against an out of form Spurs in midweek.