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Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace: Late Michy Batshuayi leveller dents Toffees’ Champions League hopes

Michy Batshuayi dented Everton’s top four hopes with only his second goal for Crystal Palace this season

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted his side are still in the fight for European qualification despite conceding a late leveller to Crystal Palace.

Palace substitute Michy Batshuayi equalised in the 86th minute, placing the ball beyond Robin Olsen into the bottom corner.

Returning from injury, Everton’s James Rodriguez had given the Toffees a deserved lead with a superb right-footed strike in the 56th minute.

“The target is the same,” Ancelotti told BBC Sport.

“We lost two points. We have to get those two points back in other games.”

The result leaves Everton eighth, five points off fourth-placed West Ham having played one game fewer.

Palace’s safety is all but guaranteed, the draw leaving them 12 points clear of the bottom three with eight games remaining.

‘We fight until the end’

After top-four rivals Chelsea, Leicester and Tottenham all dropped points over the weekend, the door was open for Everton to continue their push for Champions League qualification.

Victory would have taken the Toffees to within three points of fourth place, but a lapse in concentration allowed Batshuayi to race through and net the leveller.

“There is a fantastic battle for the European positions,” added Ancelotti.

“A lot of teams are involved [and there are] a lot of unpredictable results.

“We have to fight until the end. This competition will be decided in the last minute of the last game.”

Everton had started the brighter as Palace keeper Vicente Guaita made a flurry of fine stops, standing tall to keep out Dominic Calvert-Lewin and denying Richarlison with two excellent first-half saves.

Rodriguez, who had been sidelined with a calf injury for the past six weeks, showed a calmness in front of goal, squeezing in the game’s opener at the near post.

And in the closing stages Richarlison forced Guaita into another good save, but Palace held on to frustrate the hosts who have now won just one of their past nine league games at Goodison Park.

‘This is how we play’

Having now collected 38 points this season, only the most pessimistic of supporters will argue that Palace don’t already have enough to stay in the Premier League for a ninth successive season.

Manager Roy Hodgson has always seen survival as his primary target, but with the 73-year-old yet to extend his contract beyond the end of the season, the Eagles’ substance over style approach has been well reported.

“The major aspiration is to win football matches, that’s always been our goal,” Hodgson told BBC Sport.

“Unfortunately supporters don’t give you much credit for entertaining if you get beat every week.”

Hodgson named an unchanged starting XI, with his side sitting back, looking to hit their hosts on the break.

Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha – who again opted to stand rather than take a knee – had half chances in the second period, before Batshuayi came on for Christian Benteke in the 84th minute.

Two minutes later he netted the equaliser, latching on to a Jeffrey Schlupp pass.

“I think it was a point that we deserved,” added Hodgson. “There were never any occasions where we were inferior to our opponents.

“With 38 points we’ve got a tremendous base with eight games to go.

“The way we’ve played tonight that’s basically the way we’ve tried to play football and will always try to play football.”

Everton’s home woes – the stats

  • Everton have registered just one win in their past eight home league games (D2 L5), after winning four of the seven before that.
  • Crystal Palace have suffered just one defeat in their past six Premier League games (W2 D3) after losing four of the preceding six.
  • Everton mustered 15 shots in the game, only managing more in a league game this season once before, 17 against West Brom in September.
  • James Rodriguez has been directly involved in 12 goals in 14 home games in all competitions for Everton this season – five goals and seven assists.
  • Rodriguez is the fifth Colombian to hit 10 or more Premier League goal involvements in a single season, after Faustino Asprilla, Hamilton Ricard, Juan Pablo Angel and Hugo Rodallega.
  • Of all players to have scored at least 15 Premier League goals, Crystal Palace striker Michy Batshuayi has netted the highest proportion of them as a substitute with nine out of 15.

What’s next?

Crystal Palace host Chelsea in a London derby on Saturday (17:30 BST), before Everton travel to Brighton in the Premier League next Monday (20:15).

Line-ups

Everton

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 33Olsen
  • 5Keane
  • 13MinaBooked at 15mins
  • 4Holgate
  • 23ColemanSubstituted forGodfreyat 76′minutes
  • 26Davies
  • 21André GomesSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 31′minutes
  • 12DigneBooked at 33mins
  • 19RodríguezSubstituted forGbaminat 79′minutes
  • 9Calvert-Lewin
  • 7Richarlison

Substitutes

  • 10G Sigurdsson
  • 11King
  • 18Nkounkou
  • 22Godfrey
  • 25Gbamin
  • 31Neves Virgínia
  • 34Broadhead
  • 48John
  • 53Tyrer

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 31Guaita
  • 2Ward
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 24Cahill
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 9J AyewSubstituted forBatshuayiat 84′minutes
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 44RiedewaldSubstituted forSchluppat 68′minutes
  • 25Eze
  • 20BentekeSubstituted forMatetaat 77′minutes
  • 11Zaha

Substitutes

  • 1Butland
  • 6Dann
  • 10Townsend
  • 14Mateta
  • 15Schlupp
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 27Mitchell
  • 34Kelly
  • 38Hannam

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