Leeds United and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon, as the two sides put on a show for the returning Elland Road crowd.
The first half got off to a quiet start, and it took a moment of madness from Whites captain Liam Cooper to separate the sides. The Scotsman dragged Dominic Calvert-Lewin down in the box on 26 minutes, and although the referee missed it at first viewing, he awarded the penalty after consulting the VAR screen on the touchline.
Calvert-Lewin stepped up and dispatched the penalty, putting Everton in front heading into the half-time break. But Leeds hit back on 40 minutes, after some great work from Raphinha and Patrick Bamford was rounded off by Mateusz Klich.
It took only five minutes of the second half for Everton to re-establish their lead, however, as new signing Demarai Gray announced himself on Merseyside with a neat finish past Illan Meslier.
Leeds survived a few scares in the second half as the Toffees looked to kill the game, but Meslier kept the hosts within one. That proved pivotal on 72 minutes, when Raphinha rifled a stunning strike from the edge of the box into the far corner, sending the Elland Road faithful wild.
Neither side could find that all-important fifth goal of the game, and the spoils were shared.
Let’s check out the player ratings.
Illan Meslier (GK) – 8/10 – Little to do until the penalty, but couldn’t keep out Calvert-Lewin’s spot-kick. Made a couple of important saves after Gray had put Everton ahead.
Luke Ayling (RB) – 7/10 – Occasionally tucked in as part of a back three, acting as a right-sided centre-back. Flexibility is key to Bielsa’s fluid system.
Pascal Struijk (CB) – 6/10 – A better display than the chaotic showing at Old Trafford, but still far from convincing. Diego Llorente is sorely missed.
Liam Cooper (CB) – 6/10 – Absolutely ridiculous decision-making to pull Calvert-Lewin down in the box. No doubt it was a penalty. Made amends with the assist for Raphinha’s strike.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 6/10 – Not a bad full debut. Slotted in nicely on the left side, and didn’t allow Iwobi the space he needed to attack and cause problems.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – 7/10 – A quiet first half, but came up with the goods towards the end of the first 45, rounding off an excellent move to draw Leeds level.
Kalvin Phillips (CM) – 7/10 – Helped Leeds dominate possession from the off, showing his steel and control in the centre of the park. Had a crack at goal which deflected wide. Great delivery for the second goal.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – 6/10 – Plenty of industry and worked hard to retrieve the ball for Phillips to distribute. Will be disappointed to have let Gray get his shot off from a tight angle.
Raphinha (RW) – 8/10 – Worked some smart shooting angles for himself in the first half, but couldn’t hit the target. Tucked in more centrally and looked dangerous. Great work for the first equaliser. Found his range with a stunning strike to draw Leeds level for a second time.
Patrick Bamford (ST) – 7/10 – Left one on Mina in the first half, and caused a mini brawl between the pair. Got his revenge by bagging the assist for Klich’s equaliser.
Jack Harrison (LW) – 6/10 – Excellent work-rate, tracking back and keeping a close eye on Coleman and his overlapping runs. Didn’t have the impact he’d have hoped in attack.
Tyler Roberts (AM) – 6/10
Jamie Shackleton (CM) – 7/10
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 6/10 – Could only watch as the defence parted like the red sea in front of him for Klich’s cheeky finish. No stopping Raphinha’s effort.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – 7/10 – Typically stoic and uncompromising on the right flank. Not easy against a winger as busy as Harrison but was never fazed. Picked up a yellow card.
Yerry Mina (CB) – 7/10 – Back in the team and tasked with challenging Bamford and his physical style of play. Sparks began to fly at the end of the first half. Left exposed by Keane for the first leveller.
Michael Keane (CB) – 6/10 – Another nervy display. Got in a bad position for Leeds’ equaliser, then missed the interception. Bailed out by his attacking teammates.
Lucas Digne (LB) – 7/10 – Put in a strong performance, whipping in plenty of crosses to try and find Calvert-Lewin in the area. A really impressive part of the defensive unit.
Allan (CM) – 7/10 – Bit into plenty of challenges, landing a hefty foul on Phillips. He loves a battle. The perfect man needed to combat the relentless Leeds midfield.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – 7/10 – Almost put Everton ahead immediately after Leeds’ equaliser with a long-range drive which Meslier spilled. Got the assist for the second.
Richarlison (AM) – 6/10 – Couldn’t get on the ball as much as he would have liked, but always posed a threat when his teammates did pick him out. A quieter afternoon than usual.
Alex Iwobi (RW) – 6/10 – Extremely quiet in the first half, anonymous in the final third and lacking the killer touch to get Everton moving up the pitch. Floated wide as Richarlison moved into the middle.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – 8/10 – Couldn’t quite reach a cross from wide to poke the ball home. Dragged down by Cooper, and won the penalty for his team. Took the spot-kick himself and tucked it away.
Demarai Gray (LW) – 8/10 – Grew into the game and threatened often, demonstrating lightning pace and trickery. Bagged the goal his display deserved with an excellent finish on his left foot. One to watch this season.
Andros Townsend (RW) – 6/10
Fabian Delph (CM) – 6/10
Moise Kean (ST) – N/A