Superb Stekelenburg helps Everton grab a draw at City

Saturday 15 October 2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
Manchester City 1 - 1 Everton

Maarten Stekelenburg turned in a man-of-the-match performance, saving two penalties to keep City at bay
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Everton picked up a precious point from Premier League leaders Manchester City thanks to a world-class goal by Romelu Lukaku and matching heroics in goal from Maarten Stekelenburg.

The Dutch ‘keeper saved a penalty in each half and pulled off a couple of brilliant fingertip saves to keep Pep Guardiola's side at bay as the Blues largely withstood a predictable trial by attacking fire at the Etihad Stadium.

They buckled briefly and crucially 18 minutes from time, however, when Nolito came off the bench to head home the equaliser and ensure that the spoils were shared.

While Ross Barkley was dropped back to the substitutes' bench in favour of Gerard Deulofeu, Ronald Koeman was able to name Lukaku in his starting XI along with Phil Jagielka after both recovered from minor thigh strains.

The pair would have contrasting fortunes, though, with the captain responsible for conceding both spot kicks with rash tackles in his own penalty area and Lukaku living up to his own billing with a terrific solo goal 20 minutes into the second half.

That strike had put Everton ahead, reward for a stubborn rearguard display that necessitated the visitors soaking up long periods of pressure and having to remain compact and disciplined around their own area.

Leroy Sané had an earlier penalty claim turned down after he went down under Bryan Oviedo's challenge before the Costa Rican deflected Kevin de Bruyne's effort over and David Silva flashed a shot narrowly over.

Chances to hurt City at the other end for Everton, meanwhile, were at a premium but Deulofeu wasted one chance to break against the home side's two centre-halves when he failed to find Yannick Bolasie.

The match was heading for half time when Silva's persistent wriggling in the Blues' box ended with Jagielka tripping him with a trailing leg and referee Michael Oliver pointing to the spot. De Bruyne stepped up confidently but Stekelenburg guessed right and pushed his penalty away to safety.

Everton began the second half in more attacking mood and Deulofeu cracked a dipping shot goalwards that Claudio Bravo turned over his crossbar with a strong hand. At the other end, meanwhile, Stekelenburg denied Iheanacho's flick at his near post to keep things goalless.

The Blues took the lead in the 64th minute, however, when Bolasie tied John Stones up near the halfway line allowing the ball to skid through to Lukaku who barreled towards goal and whipped an unerring shot past the keeper and inside the far post.

Disaster seemed to have stuck back down at the other end again, though, when Jagielka caught substitute Sergio Aguero late, scything the Argentine striker down and leaving the referee with no option but to award another penalty. One again, Stekelenburg picked the right side of the goal and made an almost identical stop to parry the shot away.

Following the resulting corner, Silva found Aguero in space in a central position but Stekelenburg pawed his shot past the post but the Dutchman was helpless two minutes later when Silva crossed from the left and Nolito stole in untracked to head home.

Stekelenburg would have one more say in the destiny of the shared points when he denied De Bruyne for a final time. The Belgian unleashed a stunning shot from distance that looked destined for the top corner until the Blues' stopper got his fingertips to the ball and helped it onto the post.

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