Toffees battle for home draw

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Football News

Everton twice had to fight back to grab a 2-2 draw in a vibrant UEFA Cup tie against Standard Liege.

Liege, who will now fancy their chances of dumping the Merseysiders out of the competition, were ahead early on when Dieumerci Mbokani netted close in after Everton were exposed on the right.

Ayegbeni Yakubu equalised before Joseph Yobo's own goal put the Belgians ahead again, only for Segundo Castillo to equalise with a fine 25-yard effort.

Everton were aiming to reach the group stages for the second season in succession against the Belgian champions, who consider themselves unfortunate not to have ended Liverpool's Champions League dreams at the qualifying stage last month.

And they stunned Goodison Park with a 10th-minute strike. Joleon Lescott was caught out on the right and reacted slowly when Wilfried Dalmat forced the ball across goal for Dieumerci Mbokani to guide a close-range shot home.

It should have been two after 23 minutes when Milan Jovanovic struck a low shot that colleague Igor De Camargo somehow deflected wide of a post from a yard out.

Despite their problems, Everton found themselves level after 23 minutes when Lescott found Mikel Arteta and the Spaniard fed Leon Osman before the ball was played instantly forward for Yakubu to sweep home.

But another run and cross on the right exposed Everton again after 36 minutes. Marcos Camozzato raced away to fire a low cross into the box where Joseph Yobo - assuming that Mbokani was closer behind him that he thought - lunged in to put the ball past Tim Howard.

Four minutes later Everton were level again. And it was Ecuadorian midfielder Segundo Castillo who lashed a poor clearance past Rorys Espinoza from 25-yards out.

Everton had Victor Anichebe carried off with a shin injury after a crunching tackle with Bonfim Dante and James Vaughan took over after 64 minutes. Liege thought they had won a penalty in injury-time when Dalmat went down under pressure from Lescott in the box but it was not given and Everton now face an edgy night in Belgium to keep their European hopes alive.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Leon Osman
Joseph Yobo
James Vaughan
Ayegbeni Yakubu
European News
Mikel Arteta
Tim Howard
Joleon Lescott
Segundo Castillo
Victor Anichebe

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