Europa League: FK Krasnodar 1-1 Everton

Samuel Eto’o’s late goal salvaged a point for a lacklustre Everton in their Europa League group-stage game at FK Krasnodar.

The Cameroon striker was perfectly placed to tap in a cross from Leighton Baines with eight minutes remaining.

Brazilian forward Ari had fired the home side ahead after capitalising on a mistake from Phil Jagielka.

The Toffees, who were second-best in Russia, now have four points from two Group H games.

Two weeks ago, they got their campaign off to the best possible start courtesy of a comfortable 4-1 home win over German side Wolfsburg.

That victory showcased a bright, attacking display from a near first-choice Roberto Martinez side to give them confidence of achieving their manager’s aim of going as far as possible in this season’s competition.

However, despite again naming a strong side, the Spaniard’s team were distinctly average in Russia to provide a reality check to their ambitious aims, and they needed a trademark piece of finishing from experienced European campaigner Eto’o, 33, to dig them out of a hole.

Martinez made five changes for the 4,800-mile round trip, but kept his defensive unit – including holding midfielder Gareth Barry – intact.

For much of the first half, this proved a wise decision against a Krasnodar team who produced the kind of positive and incisive display that had seen them score 11 unanswered goals in three Europa League wins this season prior to Thursday.

Martinez’s backline had to deal with a number of attacks during the first 20 minutes, which saw Marat Izmailov twice go close, initially with a flicked effort from close range that landed on the roof of the net and then a shot from the edge of the box that Tim Howard did superbly to palm away.

Having survived, the Toffees grew into the game and went close themselves as Aiden McGeady, who spent three-and-a-half seasons in Russia with Spartak Moscow, saw a low shot saved by Andriy Dykan, who was static soon after as a John Stones header sailed just past the post.

However, with so much hard work done and half-time looming, Everton gifted Krasnodar the lead when Jagielka’s ill-judged touch on Odil Ahmedov’s pass put Ari through on goal to slot in the opener.

Martinez introduced Romelu Lukaku at half-time but it did little to stem the flow of the game as the home side continued to pour forward.

It was another substitute, home midfielder Wanderson, who came close to adding to the scoreline with a jinking run into the box that ended with him hooking a shot against the bar.

With time running out, Eto’o, who now has 45 European goals in 111 appearances, found space in the box to poke home Baines’s delivery and snatch an unlikely point for the away side, who could even have won it but for a neat save from Dykan to deny Lukaku with a header.

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