Monday 9 December 2019

Terry strikes late to deny Martinez his just reward

Chelsea 3 Everton 3

Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea fails to stop the shot by Ramiro Funes Mori
Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea fails to stop the shot by Ramiro Funes Mori
John Terry made amends for an earlier own goal when he struck an equaliser in the eighth minute of injury time. Photo: Adrian Dennis/ AFP Photo
Chelsea's John Terry and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire.
Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta and Everton's Gerard Deulofeu battle for the ball. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire

Dion Fanning

With seven minutes of injury-time already played at Stamford Bridge yesterday, it was inevitable what was coming next.

Everton had already thrown away a two-goal lead, so there was a precedent. Ramiro Funes Mori had put them ahead again in the final seconds of normal time. Surely they wouldn't surrender a lead again? But this is Roberto Martinez's Everton and this was the chaos of the Premier League.

Chelsea got the ball into the box and when Oscar headed the ball on, John Terry - who had already scored an own goal - was offside, but it wasn't spotted. Terry instead channelled Gianfranco Zola and flicked the ball over Tim Howard.

Martinez claimed later that the fourth official had said time was up when Chelsea took the free-kick, which found its way to Terry via a couple of headers. When Terry flicked the ball into the net, 97 minutes and 53 seconds of the game had been played.

Martinez blamed the linesman for not spotting that Terry was offside. Guus Hiddink conceded that Everton's manager was right, but others might wonder how Everton had allowed this to happen again, after conceding late goals in games against Bournemouth and Stoke City.

It is not Everton's way to run down the clock, Martinez said. Few would disagree, but he seemed to consider it a compliment to his side rather than an admission that they lack some professional cunning.

"We are a young team, we want to win games, not by running the clock down and playing with aspects that are not the ones we want to be."

Instead his side, which had three players over thirty in the back five, must deal with a draw which felt like a defeat, and which was no reward for the scintillating football they played at times during a gripping second half.

"The players are feeling really down, but they've no reason to feel that way," Martinez said later. "It's a heartbreaking moment for us."

Martinez called for the introduction of a "big clock", although it's not sure what that would achieve. He was more critical of the linesman. "To have a player two yards offside in the box is unacceptable. It's a major, major error."

Everton have won only once in the league since November, so this was a glorious opportunity which would have moved them closer to the Champions League places. Hiddink was pleased with the ambition his side showed in coming back into the game, but problems remain for Chelsea, even if they are not as extreme as they were under Mourinho.

They had been talking about the Champions League recently, too, but this performance indicated they should have other things on their mind.

The first half was forgettable and gave no indication of what was to come. The brightest moment was a Kevin Mirallas turn, when he zipped past Kurt Zouma on the outside, before turning and heading towards goal. His low shot was tipped wide by Thibaut Courtois.

At this stage, it looked like Everton were heading for another goalless draw on the road after their midweek point at the Etihad. Eleven minutes into the second half, they looked certain to get three points as they led by two goals which were examples of all that is good about Martinez's approach.

The opening goal was created by a powerful charge across the box by Lukaku, who shrugged off the Chelsea defenders trailing behind him.

Lukaku stayed calm and kept the ball moving. The outstanding Leighton Baines took it up on the left and crossed. John Terry had danger behind him, but he bundled the ball over the line in a panic.

Everton were breathtaking in this spell. Barkley hit the outside of the post when he should have scored, then Mirallas doubled the lead after build-up play which embodied Martinez's philosophy.

The move ended with Muhamed Besic playing the ball wide to Baines, who picked out Mirallas in the box. His first touch with his back to goal took him away from the defenders and then he droved the ball past Courtois.

Everton had control, but they quickly surrendered it. Costa brought Chelsea back into the game when he hustled Jagielka and Tim Howard into a mistake as they failed to deal with a long ball forward. Costa had been fighting private battles during the first half, but now he had a tap-in. Cesc Fabregas then equalised when his shot was deflected past Howard two minutes later. Fabregas roared as if this was a redemptive moment. The crowd cheered and forgot that they had fingered him as a villain not so long ago.

Chelsea might have had a penalty, when Jagielka charged into Costa, who also missed a simple chance in front of goal, before being taken off with a shin injury. Courtois then saved brilliantly from Mirallas when Besic put him through.

If Terry's equaliser revealed problems at Everton, the away side's third goal pointed at the champions' ongoing concerns. Substitute Gerard Deulofeu's corner was cleared back out to him. His deep cross went to the far post, where Chelsea's defenders left it to Courtois, but he didn't make it and Funes Mori knocked the ball in.

Everton had the game won. As the seconds ticked away, that seemed certain, but as Terry flicked the ball in from an offside position, we were reminded that, this season, nothing is certain.

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