Manager Roberto Martinez praised an “incredible result” after Everton earned a draw away to Krasnodar thanks to Samuel Eto’o’s 82nd-minute equaliser.
Everton’s indifferent league form appeared to be continuing in Russia as they were outplayed and fell behind to Ferreira Ari’s goal. But just as in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, they rescued a late draw thanks to Eto’o.
“I am [pleased] because Krasnodar played well, started with energy and pressed high up,” Martinez said. “I am pleased with the manner in which we stayed in the game.
“We showed incredible character to wait and get ourselves in the game. We finished the second half strong, energy levels were in our favour and it’s an incredible result for us.”
With Everton back in Europe after a five-year absence, Martinez needs as much experience as he can – something Eto’o provides.
“It’s really important and that’s why this is such a fantastic learning curve for us,” he added. “If you come to a place like today it’s easy not to be yourself and that’s where you need the experience of waiting for your moment. Samuel has that.”
Krasnodar took a deserved lead just before half-time through Ari, the Brazilian striker capitalising on a mistake by Everton captain Phil Jagielka – their goalscoring hero from Saturday’s draw at Liverpool – to fire in.
The hosts came close to making it 2-0 after the break when substitute Wanderson’s shot hit the bar. But the 400 or so Everton fans who made the 2,000-mile plus journey to the Kuban Stadium will return home happy thanks to Eto’o’s late intervention.
The former Anzhi Makhachkala striker stabbed in Leighton Baines’ cross to ensure Everton took a point from a game in which they had been second best for much of the time.
Man of the match Eto’o.
Match rating 6/10.
Referee H Göçek (Turkey).
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