LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Aug 13 – Erik Lamela’s second-half header rescued a 1-1 draw for Victor Wanyama’s Tottenham Hotspur and denied new Everton manager Ronald Koeman a winning start at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Lamela equalised in the 59th minute after Everton had claimed a deserved lead through Ross Barkley’s early goal.
Everton had the better of the first half but Mauricio Pochettino’s side came back well after the interval and Argentine midfielder Lamela ensured their pressure paid off.
Only two fine saves late on from debutant Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg denied Spurs an opening day victory as the north Londoners look to emulate last season’s title challenge.
Everton went ahead in just the fifth minute.
Tottenham’s Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama, signed from Southampton in the close-season, was penalised as he tripped Kevin Mirallas to halt the Belgian’s progress towards goal.
Barkley delivered a free-kick that eluded everyone, including Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris, who delayed his dive anticipating a touch from an Everton head and watched the ball nestle inside his left-hand post.
The goal brought the game to life and Everton might have doubled their lead when makeshift centre forward Gerard Deulofeu skipped past two challenges but saw his shot from the edge of the Spurs box held low down by Lloris.
Everton went close again on 15 minutes when Barkley lofted a free-kick into the penalty area and a looping header by Phil Jagielka forced a scrambling Lloris to push the ball over his crossbar.
The hosts continued to dominate and threatened once more when Deulofeu linked up neatly with Mirallas on 21 minutes but Lloris made a comfortable save at his near post.
– Crucial interventions –
Stekelenburg had been a spectator early on but the Dutchman displayed solid handling on 28 minutes to hold a Christian Eriksen shot after a rare moment of promise from the visitors.
And there was a further blow for Tottenham 10 minutes before half-time when captain Lloris was forced off by a hamstring injury and replaced by Michel Vorm.
Tottenham began to escape their half more frequently as half-time approached, but they were unable to force Stekelenburg into action.
The hosts ought to have doubled their lead in first-half stoppage-time, when Deulofeu seized on a poor backpass from Danny Rose and raced clear of Jan Vertonghen, but was denied by a smart save from Vorm.
Everton started the second half on the front foot and Tottenham’s Eric Dier had to make two crucial interventions, first to block Deulofeu’s path to goal with a sliding tackle and then to head the resulting corner over his own crossbar.
Pochettino introduced pre-season signing Vincent Janssen to the fray 13 minutes into the second half and the striker created an opening immediately when he drifted out wide, collected possession and crossed for Dele Alli.
But the England midfielder curled a shot well wide from the edge of the area.
There was no stopping Spurs just before the hour-mark, however, as Kyle Walker found room on the right and Lamela got the better of Everton debutant Mason Holgate to head past a helpless Stekelenburg.
That goal rocked Everton, who were forced back for a spell, but they caused a moment of concern for Tottenham when the impressive Idrissa Gueye exchanged passes with substitute Arouna Kone but had his progress halted by Toby Alderweireld.
However, with 10 minutes remaining Everton needed a superb save from Stekelenburg to prevent the visitors taking the lead.
A shot from Rose was blocked by James McCarthy but fell for Janssen, whose crisp strike was clawed away one-handed by his fellow Dutchman at full stretch.
And the keeper made another fine stop moments later to divert a Lamela shot over the crossbar after it deflected off Holgate.