Lukaku equal­izer gives Ever­ton a point

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Romelu Lukaku con­tin­ued his re­mark­able scor­ing se­quence against West Ham United to earn Ever­ton a 1-1 draw in their Pre­mier League tussle at Up­ton Park yes­ter­day. The Bel­gium striker made it seven goals in as many games against the east Lon­don club af­ter can­celling out Manuel Lanzini’s open­ing goal shortly be­fore half­time. The re­sult kept Slaven Bilic’s West Ham in fifth place, but they are now three points be­low the Cham­pi­ons League berths, while Roberto Martinez’s Ever­ton are four points back in eighth place.

West Ham will be sick of the sight of Lukaku, but they could not com­plain that they had not re­ceived prior warn­ing. Lukaku’s im­pres­sive feat saw him be­come only the sec­ond Ever­ton player, along­side Tof­fees great Dixie Dean, to score against the same op­po­nent in seven con­sec­u­tive matches.

Both sides, who are push­ing for a cov­eted Cham­pi­ons League spot, had en­joyed con­trast­ing re­sults on their pre­vi­ous out­ings. West Ham lost for the first time on the road at Wat­ford, while Ever­ton thumped Sun­der­land 6-2.

But it was West Ham who looked the more lively early on. Dim­itri Payet’s surg­ing run and pass saw Vic­tor Moses side-foot just wide af­ter three min­utes.

Ever­ton were strug­gling to find any co­he­sion. That was summed up when Arouna Kone, fresh from his hat-trick in the rout of Sun­der­land, wasted a chance in the 18th minute.

James McCarthy’s quickly taken free-kick freed Kone, but the Ivo­rian striker could only screw a pre­sentable open­ing wide.

West Ham left-back Aaron Cress­well came close to a break­through mo­ments later as his shot with the out­side of the foot drifted the wrong side of the post.

Payet blow

But the home side did not have to wait too long be­fore Lanzini curled home a sump­tu­ous 30th-minute opener.

Moses’s cross was de­flected into the path of the on-loan Ar­gen­tine winger, who bent a sub­lime strike from the edge of the box around Tim Howard and into the top-right cor­ner.

Ever­ton had been off the pace, but they carved out a 43rd-minute lev­eller with a move that came like a bolt from the blue. Ger­ard Deulofeu’s through-ball split open the home defence and Lukaku raced clear to round Adrian and slot home.

West Ham suf­fered a fur­ther blow when the in­flu­en­tial Payet hob­bled off early in the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter fail­ing to shake off the ef­fects of an ear­lier chal­lenge by McCarthy.

It meant that Bilic was forced into a mi­nor reshuf­fle. Lanzini was moved in­side and the winger al­most helped West Ham re­gain their lead in the 63rd minute. He swept past Sea­mus Cole­man and his low shot was tipped around the post by Howard. The bad in­jury news kept on com­ing for West Ham as striker Va­len­cia was stretched off af­ter an in­nocu­ous chal­lenge from Cole­man. — AFP

LON­DON:

West Ham 1

Ever­ton 1

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