Everton and Chelsea drew 3-3 in a match that went from snoozer to blockbuster, with four second-half goals fired in in a fifteen-minute stretch. Gerard Deulofeu and Ramiro Funes Mori connected in the final minute of regulation off a corner kick, only to see John Terry rescue the point in the final minute of stoppage time.
The result keeps Guus Hiddink unbeaten as Chelsea’s manager but does not really help his team’s position any: the Blues remain in a scrap at the bottom of the table. For Everton, it was a bitter end to a storming performance: Terry looked clearly offside on the tying goal yet got away with it.
There was little in the first half to suggest that this would be a classic. Neither keeper was called upon to do too much. Tim Howard’s lone action came in the 15th minute when John Stones coughed the ball up cheaply to Cesc Fabregas, setting up a fizzing effort from Willian that Howard did well to beat away.
At the other end, Ross Barkley was involved twice, first seeing his shot blocked by Kurt Zouma, but falling to Bryan Oviedo; Oviedo’s half-volley went just wide of Thibaut Courtois’ post. It took another 20 minutes for Everton to mount an attack, and when it came, it was a potshot from range off the heels of Kevin Mirallas. Courtois did have to get down well to parry the ball out but with the Toffees limited to shooting from 30 yards, it was hard to argue that Chelsea were seriously bothered.
But after the interval, the tenor of the match entirely changed.
The floodgates opened when Terry shoveled the ball into his own net in the 50th minute. Gareth Barry started the play, springing the ball up to Lukaku, who held off three players to slip the ball to Leighton Baines out on the wing. With Lukaku looking for the return pass, Baines whipped the cross in, and Terry was caught out as the ball caromed off him and into the net.
That sent Everton into overdrive, and with Chelsea reeling, Barkley collected a ball down the left flank and blew in a shot that beat Courtois, but not the near post. Barkley would play provider minutes later, however, feeding Baines out wide to set up Everton’s second goal.
With Chelsea unable to get out of their own area, Barkley fed Aaron Lennon, who then slotted left for Baines. The return pass came to Mirallas, and with a single touch and then a swivel, Mirallas blew the ball in on the half-volley and with a half an hour left to play, Everton had a two-goal lead.
That sparked Chelsea and Cesc signaled the danger by forcing a reflex save out of Howard just past the hour – just before hitting the Toffees with a one-two punch.
First, a long ball out of the back from Cesc caught Howard and Phil Jagielka out, with Diego Costa the beneficiary. The ball fell between the keeper and his defender, allowing Costa to nip in alone on goal for an easy tap-in. Then, just two minutes later, Cesc took a lash himself after a one-two with Costa. Taking a huge deflection, the ball whizzed in at the post with Howard helpless.
Costa and Mirallas both spurned gilt-edged chances to win it. Costa had the ball at his feet from Cesar Azpilicueta but could not pull the trigger in time; Mirallas was in alone on goal but Courtois came up with a brave stop to deny him. Costa would subsequently go off injured with what appeared to be a calf problem.
Funes Mori would nick what seemed to be the winner after Deulofeu recycled a corner that the back met at the far post on the volley. It was an unlikely goal from an unlikely source, and it sent the away fans into delirium. Hiddink’s glum visage on the touchline told the Chelsea story.
But in the 8th minute of stoppage, Terry was able to backheel the ball over the line off service from Branislav Ivanovic. Howard protested furiously – and correctly, as replays showed – but the goal stood, and Chelsea had a share of the spoils.
The late equalizer was highly controversial, with both managers commenting. Everton manager Roberto Martinez made his feelings known: "It is a heartbreaking moment, we deserved the three points. The offside decision is clear." Martinez added, "It was a fantastic game for the fans, but the level of refereeing was diabolical. That’s really hurtful and no-one deserves that."
Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink had this to stay about the last goal: "I won’t deny it and say I didn’t see the goal. It was offside, but it was technically the perfect finish. We sent our two center backs up top – it was all or nothing. In the end it paid off and we deserved it."