Everton boss Roberto Martinez pointed to the “character” of his players as they battled onto secure a late 1-1 away draw against Russian outfit FK Krasnodar in their the Europa League Group H clash on Thursday night.
The Toffees came into their second group match on the back of a comfortable opening 4-1 win against German side Wolfsburg at Goodison Park, but they were under the cosh for the majority of this encounter at the Kuban Stadium.
It was no surprise when Ari put Krasnodar ahead two minutes before half time, while substitute Wanderson almost killed the game when he hit the bar in the second half.
However, Everton continued to chip away and were rewarded with a valuable point when Leighton Baines’ cross was guided home by veteran Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o in the 82nd minute.
The result leaves Everton two points clear at the top of Group H as Lille and Wolfsburg drew in the night’s other game and a happy
Martinez said: “Today gave us a lot of experience. It has been a very good lesson for us.
“I think anything you can get away from home is a positive. But Krasnodar played really well. I thought we couldn’t find our attacking rhythm in the first half.
“In the second half, Romelu (Lukaku, a half-time substitute) helped us. I think in the end we deserved it. I was delighted with the character that we showed.”
Everton now face a tough Premier League trip to Manchester United at midday on Sunday and are 5.00 to pick up three points. United are 1.65 while the draw is 3.79.