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Saturday 13 September K.O. 15:00

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Etihad Stadium | 1st December 2012 15:00

Man City v Everton

Everton extended their impressive record at the Etihad Stadium as they battled to a deserved draw against champions Manchester City on Saturday.

The fixture list will say David Moyes' men have now been held in seven of their last nine games - but their efforts in shutting out Roberto Mancini's side could not be faulted.

Indeed, it took a questionable penalty, converted by Carlos Tevez, to cancel out Marouane Fellaini's opener and earn the hosts - unbeaten in 36 at home - a share of the spoils.

The brilliant Belgian used his thigh to divert the ball past Joe Hart on 33 minutes but he was punished for a foul on Edin Dzeko 10 minutes later, allowing the cool-headed Tevez to level from the spot.

Leighton Baines passed a late fitness test to give Moyes a welcome boost ahead of kick off.

The left-back reported a tightness in his hamstring following Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal and had been considered a major doubt to feature against the high-flying Citizens.

However, his recovery allowed Moyes to name an unchanged side as the Blues looked to earn a fifth win in six visits to a fortress often so impenetrable to others.

Fellaini scores against Man CityFellaini opens the scoring

The unaltered 11 made a decent start too, and perseverance from the fit-again Darron Gibson led to a first chance of the game for Steven Naismith. Unfortunately for the Scot, his low, long-range shot was never troubling the goal.

An early knock was bothering left-back Aleksandar Kolarov, however, and the Serbian international was soon limping off to be replaced by Pablo Zabaleta.

With the hosts perhaps unsettled by the switch in personnel, Everton found themselves able to impose themselves on Mancini's side. But despite enjoying a large early portion of possession, their probing failed to produce a real chance of note.

At the other end, an aerial battle between Sylvain Distin and Dzeko led to the  ball dropping uncomfortably close to the post before the unsuspecting Dzeko took the  full force of a thunderous Samir Nasri drive plum on the head, deflecting it away from goal and wide of Tim Howard's upright.

It was against the run of play then - but not undeserved - when the on-fire Fellaini pounced to take his Premier League goal tally to eight for the season and five in his last five outings.

The initial ball, a trademark swirling centre, was delivered by Baines, underlining why Moyes had been so keen for his influential left-back to shake off any unwelcome pains.

It's height meant City captain Vincent Kompany could only flick the ball dangerously towards the back post, where his lurking international colleague had edged goal side of Zabaleta. The midfielder duly met it with his head, and though Hart was quick to react, Fellaini reacted quicker, his thigh thrusting the ball back past the despairing stopper.

Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson congratulate Fellaini on opening the scoring.Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson congratulate the Belgian.

Soon after Howard had to dive at full stretch to tip away an improvised headed effort from Tevez, though there was little he could to emerge victorous from his next duel with the Argentine.

Harshly, Fellaini was adjudged to have tugged Dzeko in the box, prompting referee Lee Probert to point to the spot. Tevez stepped up and made no mistake, calmly firing beyond the diving American.

Typically, Fellaini was the centre of attention and before the half was out, Hart had to produce another full-length save to push the Belgian's tricky low header away from his bottom corner.

The second may have begun with another goal for Tevez but after Distin's panicked air-shot had threatened to give the diminutive South American a sniff, the Frenchman recovered brilliantly, hooking the ball to safety before calmly putting Everton back on the attack.

It was City, however, who were suddenly looking the dominant side as the visitors found themselves increasingly forced back into their own half.

Steven Pienaar tangles with former teammate Joleon Lescott.Steven Pienaar tangles with former teammate Joleon Lescott.

Yet, Everton were resolute in their defence and two attempts at goal - a blocked shot and a wayward header from Tevez - were all the hosts could muster.

With an hour gone, the Brazilian, Maicon, tested Howard with a swirling shot from just inside the box. Alert, the American kept track of its flight and punched the ball to adequate safety.

A misjudged header from Dzeko soon had the home fans venting their frustration and one of two counter attacks in quick succession reminded everyone inside the Etihad that Everton were a threat.

Perhaps sensing the mood among the residents, Mancini sent on joint top-scorer Sergio Aguero for his compatriot Tevez, while another Argentine, Zabaleta, experienced the rougher side of Fellaini, the 25-year-old's late challenge earning him a sixth booking of the campaign.

Moyes too made changes, Bryan Oviedo sent on in place of the tiring Naismith; Mancini threw on Mario Balotelli for Dzeko.

The new blood didn't affect the flow but Everton continued to defend stoutly in protection of their point.

There was one hairy moment for the hosts when Nikica Jelavic's 20-yard free-kick was spilled by Hart. But a point apiece it was.

A decent point which once again proved Everton can mix it at the top.

By Adam Clark

 

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