Raphinha on target to rescue point for Leeds in hearty clash with Everton
Raphinha's superb second-half finish clinched Leeds a 2-2 draw in their first home Premier League game of the season against Everton.
The Brazilian winger crashed home a second-half equaliser his third goal in as many games against the Toffees as Leeds twice hit back to earn their first point of the new campaign.
Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Mateusz Klich before the break and after Demarai Gray restored the visitors’ lead, Raphinha had the last word in a typically thrilling Leeds encounter.
Elland Road was turned into a sea of yellow before kick-off as most home fans in a capacity crowd – the first here since March 2020 swirled flags found under their seats to mark the occasion.
Leeds last played a top-flight home game in front of an unrestricted crowd in 2004 when they drew 3-3 against Charlton.
A rousing reception for this fixture had long-been anticipated, and it did not let anyone down.
Both sets of players responded. Everton's Abdoulaye Doucoure’s early shot flew wide, and Leeds set a typically breathless pace.
Everton were pushed onto the back foot, but remained a threat on the break and created two of the better first-half chances via crosses from the impressive Gray.
The visitors were awarded a penalty after referee Darren England had watched a replay of Liam Cooper’s tangle with Calvert-Lewin, and the Everton man coolly converted to give his side a 30th-minute lead.
Leeds would deservedly hit back to equalise before half-time. Patrick Bamford slipped his marker, Michael Keane, on the edge of the area and his ball inside was expertly despatched by the supporting Klich.
Gray, by far Everton’s outstanding player in the first period, continued to torment Leeds at the start of the second.
He combined superbly with Calvert-Lewin to create one chance for the latter and then struck the game’s third goal as Everton regained the lead in the 50th minute.
Doucoure slipped a pass inside the box to the former Birmingham and Leicester man and his low angled shot went through Stuart Dallas’ legs on its way into the far corner.
Leeds wobbled as Gray led Everton in pursuit of a game-clinching third goal, before rallying as the game entered the final quarter and then lifting the roof with a thumping equaliser.
Liam Cooper teed-up Raphinha on the edge of the box following Kalvin Phillips’ arcing cross, and the Brazilian lashed home an unstoppable left-footed shot.
The game hung in the balance as Leeds substitute Tyler Roberts’ cross-cum-shot forced Jordan Pickford into a near-post save.
On the other end, Richarlison curled a shot inches wide and Everton substitute Andros Townsend forced goalkeeper Illan Meslier into a low save.