Manchester City vs. Everton ends in a stalemate at Etihad Stadium.
As struggling Everton finished 2022 by snatching an unexpected point against Manchester City, Demarai Gray scored a stunning equalizer.
With his 27th goal in just 21 club appearances, Erling Haaland appeared to have put defending champions City on the right track for victory in a scrappy Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium.
What happened in the game?
After 24 minutes, the prolific Norwegian scored with precision, but Gray immediately answered with a flawless curling shot from the area’s edge.
Everton displayed incredible tenacity to hold on and contain City’s formidable Haaland-led attack after John Stones earlier struck the post against his former team.
It put an end to the Merseysiders’ four-game losing streak and reduced the pressure on manager Frank Lampard.
As usual, Haaland had seemed like he would be the difference in the beginning. After colliding with Ben Godfrey in the first minute, he needed medical attention, and when he eventually stood up, it was clear that Everton had enraged him.
Although the 22-year-old doesn’t typically lack motivation, he appeared especially fired up for this match by engaging in a running battle with James Tarkowski.
When he grabbed a beautiful through-ball from Kevin De Bruyne, he made his first threat, rounding Jordan Pickford but shooting into the side-netting.
When Riyad Mahrez slalomed through the area and pulled back for Haaland, who finished precisely on the turn, City took the lead.
After being fouled by Godfrey outside the area just before the half, Haaland was involved in another crucial moment.
He gave the free kick a double fist-pump in appreciation, perhaps feeling vindicated that some earlier judgments had gone against him. Moments later, he was arrested for making an impulsive challenge on Vitaliy Mykolenko because he lost control of his emotions.
Between those occurrences, there was the minor issue of Stones striking the woodwork from the set-piece skillfully taken by De Bruyne.
Despite Dominic Calvert-return Lewin’s to the Everton team following a number of injuries, they had trouble using him effectively.
Idrissa Gana Gueye did curl in a potentially harmful cross, but Calvert-header Lewin’s missed the target.
The second half started slowly, which was made worse by a protracted delay while one of the assistant referees’ communication equipment was being fixed.
When the game resumed, Everton unexpectedly got things going first and scored an unlikely equalizer just after the hour mark.
Gray charged into the area, forcing City to retreat. He slipped as he attempted to turn around Manuel Akanji, but quickly regained his composure to curl a beautiful shot into the top corner.
Then, City started to grow impatient with Everton’s attempts to impede the game’s progress. Jack Grealish and Haaland received some harsh challenges, but De Bruyne brushed them off.
In the closing minutes, City applied more pressure, but Pickford made a terrific save from Mahrez in the goalmouth scramble, and many other shots were deflected away.
It was a tense finish for the visitors with 11 minutes of stoppage time remaining, but they managed to hold on with some tenacious defending.