Raphinha rocket earns Leeds 2-2 home draw against Everton

Leeds United's Raphinha celebrates scoring their second goal with Jamie Shackleton, August 21, 2021. — Reuters pic
Leeds United's Raphinha celebrates scoring their second goal with Jamie Shackleton, August 21, 2021. — Reuters pic

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LEEDS, Aug 22 — Leeds United winger Raphinha blasted in a second-half equaliser as the battling Yorkshire side came back twice to secure a 2-2 draw with Everton in the Premier League on Saturday and pick up their first point of the season.

Raphinha, who was called up to the Brazilian squad for the first time last week, lashed one past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 72nd minute after Everton winger Demarai Gray thought he had sealed a second straight win for the visitors.

“We’re disappointed not to take the three points, after a great finish from Raphinha. We all know what kind of player he is, and to put it in the bottom corner first time like that was great,” Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips said.

“It wasn’t the best of us today. It’s early in the season, and I feel like (I) could be a lot fitter, a lot stronger. Every team will create chances against us. We could have done better in the goals they scored.”

Gray, who joined Rafa Benitez’s side from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in July, rifled the ball past goalkeeper Illan Meslier from a tight angle inside the box to make it 2-1 in the 50th minute of a physical contest.

“Against a team like Leeds you have to kill the game off. They’re always going to apply the pressure and with the fans here, they’re not going to give up. We could have taken more today but we’ll take the point,” Gray said.

Everton went up 1-0 against the run of play through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 30th-minute penalty, following a Video Assistant Referee check after the on-field official did not spot Leeds skipper Liam Cooper’s tug on the striker’s shirt.

The goal silenced a raucous Elland Road, where a full house was attending a top-flight match for the first time in 17 years, but the home fans found their voices again as Mateusz Klich ran on to Patrick Bamford’s fine pass to equalise before the break.

Leeds looked steadier in midfield than in last weekend’s 5-1 defeat by Manchester United with Phillips back, but were still carved open easily at times by Everton who were left to rue several missed chances by Calvert-Lewin.

Everton, who won their opener 3-1 against Southampton at home, visit Brighton & Hove Albion in the league next Saturday while Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds could face a tricky challenge at winless Burnley a day later. — Reuters

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