Carlo Ancelotti was left pleased with Everton’s performance as they held fellow European hopefuls, Spurs, to a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
It has been a high scoring fixture in recent seasons, with 37 goals being scored in the nine previous meetings between the sides, including the 5-4 win for Everton in the FA Cup back in February.
After a dull and non-descript opening, Spurs would open the scoring in the 27th minute through Harry Kane. Michael Keane misjudged the flight of a Tanguy Ndombele cross while Mason Holgate also got attracted to the ball, Kane finding himself unmarked in the area, taking a lovely touch, before firing home with his left on the half-volley from eight yards out for his 20th league goal of the campaign.
Within two minutes though, Everton would be handed the chance to level the scores, Sergio Reguilon clumsily bringing down James Rodriguez just inside the area, with Gylfi Sigurdsson stepping up to despatch the resulting spot-kick against his former side.
Carlo Ancelotti had sent his side out with three-at-the-back, with Alex Iwobi somewhat surprisingly being selected at right wing-back ahead of Seamus Coleman. However, the Irishman would make an almost instant impact after being brought off the bench on the hour mark, playing a neat one-two with Richarlison before whipping a delicious cross towards the penalty spot which was met by Sigurdsson, who netted his second of the game with a fine first-time finish.
Once again, the lead wouldn’t last long though, and again Everton were the masters of their own undoing. Holgate and Keane once again getting themselves in a right old mess at the back from an Eric Lamela cross, the ball again landing at the feet of Kane who emphatically lashed it past England teammate, Jordan Pickford.
Both sides would have chances to steal a winner, Kane seeing a header drift agonisingly wide while Richarlison blazed over as the two sides had to settle for a point that, in truth, will do neither side much good in their pursuit of European football.
The Merseyside outfit have had a wretched record at Goodison Park this season, winning just five of their 16 league games at home, and speaking afterwards, Carlo Ancelotti felt it was their best home performance.
⚽️⚽️ Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored 2 goals in a PL game for the 1st time since Everton’s 3-0 win at Cardiff in Feb 2019 & his 1st PL brace at Goodison Park since Sept 2018 pic.twitter.com/L3JAR0K7qJ
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 16, 2021
“We played a good game,” he told Sky Sports. “It was probably the best we played at home this season. We were unlucky. We did easy mistakes and when you do mistakes against Harry Kane you are condemned.
“It is a disappointing result but not performance. We have more difficulties to reach Europe but we have to keep fighting. We still have the possibility playing like tonight.
“We pressed well forward and were aggressive. In the first 10-15 minutes we didn’t do well with the ball but after that we had a lot of opportunity and chances. We have to keep the performance and repeat it.”
James Rodriguez put in an influential performance, and when asked about the Colombian, the former AC Milan boss admitted the playmaker is on ‘another level’.
“When he is fit he is always influential. He is a player of another level because with the ball he is fantastic. He always has a good pass and he is important for us.”
Asked about his side’s defensive mistakes in the build-up to Kane’s pair of goals, the Italian was relatively understanding about the errors.
“It is really difficult to say. Unfortunately in football it can happen. Michael [Keane] and Mason [Holgate] were involved and they are usually doing well.
“We have to accept it tonight but tomorrow it will be another day and we have to keep fighting because I am convinced we still have possibility [of qualifying for Europe].”
Next up for Everton is a meeting against former midfielder, Mikel Arteta, as the Blues travel to face Arsenal in the Premier League next week.