Rooney saves Everton and Koeman at Brighton, as Southampton snatch draw against Newcastle
Reprieve for the Toffee’s manager as Rooney bags equaliser from the spot
Wayne Rooney may have saved his manager’s job after a last-minute penalty kick secured a point for Everton in a 1-1 draw at Brighton in the English Premier League on Sunday.
Ronald Koeman’s future as Toffees boss looked in doubt when Anthony Knockaert gave Brighton the lead eight minutes from time, but Rooney kept his cool to level from the spot.
While the draw only lifts Everton to 16th, it might be enough to persuade the club to give Koeman more time.
“I think we deserved something out of the afternoon,” Koeman said. “We know we can play better but the commitment and belief was really positive. At least it’s one point.”
Although they lost Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United over the summer, the arrival of Rooney and young talent such as Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen gave Everton a positive outlook going into the season.
However, Koeman’s new-look side has amassed just eight points from as many games – and it would have been seven if it weren’t for a moment of madness from Brighton captain Bruno.
The defender recklessly elbowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the neck inside the penalty area in the dying stages of the game, giving referee Michael Oliver no choice but to point to the spot.
Rooney calmly sent Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan the wrong way. Knockaert had given Brighton the lead eight minutes earlier when Morgan Schneiderlin failed to clear the ball in his own box.
Brighton are above Everton in 14th thanks to a superior goal difference.
It was teacher versus student as Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino hosted Newcastle and his former boss Rafael Benitez in a 2-2 draw.
Pellegrino played for Benitez at Valencia and Liverpool before becoming a member of his coaching staff at Anfield and later at Inter Milan.
Newcastle twice led but were pegged back by Manolo Gabbiadini on both occasions as Southampton managed to score for just the second time in 10 Premier League home games.
Isaac Hayden gave Newcastle the lead in the 20th minute as he showed fine technique to direct the bouncing ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Southampton levelled in the 49th when Gabbiadini was allowed too much time and space in the penalty area before tucking a low shot in at the near post.
But less than two minutes later the visitors retook the lead. Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster was at fault as he palmed Ayoze Perez’s routine effort straight back to him and left space for the striker to squeeze the rebound in at the near post.
It was another reckless moment from a defender that allowed Southampton back into the game once more as Florian Lejeune unnecessarily brought down Shane Long inside the box.
Gabbiadini smashed the penalty into the corner to move Southampton back into the top half of the table, a place behind Newcastle, which sits ninth with 11 points.