ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Brighton and Hove Albion 1
LONDON • Wayne Rooney came to Ronald Koeman's rescue as the Everton striker's last-gasp penalty salvaged a 1-1 Premier League draw at Brighton yesterday.
The Everton manager was on the brink of another damaging defeat after falling behind to Brighton fan favourite Anthony Knockaert's effort eight minutes from time at the Amex Stadium.
But the hosts' captain Bruno gave the under-fire Dutchman a reprieve, a penalty gift with a clumsy elbow into the neck of Dominic Calvert-Lewin in stoppage time.
Said Koeman: "We were the better team. Most of the time we had good ball possession. Maybe we had to create a bit more.
"We showed belief until the last second today. We deserved a point and were maybe unlucky at the end not to get more."
While he will be relieved to avoid a fifth loss in the last six league games, his team again looked poor for long periods and remain without an away win since January.
He tried to solve their scoring problems, only four before yesterday, by restoring Rooney to the attack. But until the penalty, the former England captain hardly had a sniff of goal despite the visitors enjoying the bulk of the possession.
With the fixture being televised live in India, but strangely not in England, the Asian audience had little to enjoy from a scrappy encounter until the final 10 minutes.
Having soaked up the early pressure, Brighton became more adventurous and only a goal-line clearance from Michael Keane denied Lewis Dunk from six metres out.
In the second half, Everton right-back Mason Holgate darted into the box and his fierce cross-shot was palmed away by Mat Ryan.
At the other end, Jose Izquierdo's drive rebounded into the path of Knockaert, who smashed it past Jordan Pickford.
Rooney earned Everton a point and the visitors almost snatched a winner but Ryan pulled off a fine double save to deny Kevin Mirallas.
Said Brighton manager Chris Hughton: "I thought we were good value. Incredibly disappointed in the manner we conceded. We were up against a very good Everton team, but at that stage I couldn't see them scoring."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS