Wayne Rooney scored a 90th-minute penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw for Everton, whose difficult start to the season continued at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday. (English Premier League Home | Fixtures | Standings/Table)
The hosts had looked on course to take all three points from a drab match when Anthony Knockaert pounced on a loose ball and fired home eight minutes from fulltime.
Yet Brighton defender Bruno caught Dominic Calvert-Lewin with an elbow in the final minute and Rooney converted the resulting penalty.
Ronald Koeman’s side almost snatched victory in the 94th minute, but Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan produced fine saves to deny Kevin Mirallas and Calvert-Lewin on the follow-up.
Having spent around 140 million pounds ($186 million) in the close season transfer window, fuelling fan hopes that they could challenge higher up the table, Everton have won just two of their opening eight matches and pressure is mounting on boss Koeman.
Sunday’s draw moved both teams on to eight points and lifted them one place in the table, Brighton to 14th and Everton to 16th.
“At least we got one point – I think a point well deserved,” Koeman said. “We were the better team. Most of the time we had good ball possession. Maybe we had to create a bit more.
“After 1-0 we showed character and finally maybe had to win the game in the last few seconds.”
Rooney was returning to the starting lineup after being dropped for Everton’s last league match, a 1-0 home defeat to Burnley.
The visitors enjoyed the bulk of the possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances and the best opportunities of the match prior to Knockaert’s opener both fell to Brighton.
Everton defender Michael Keane, however, made crucial blocks to deny Lewis Dunk in the first half and Knockaert in the second.
“(I am) incredibly disappointed at this moment, because of the timing it feels more like a defeat,” Brighton manager Chris Hughton said.
“I thought we were good value. Incredibly disappointed in the manner we conceded. We were up against a very good Everton team, but at that stage I couldn’t see them scoring.”