Red-hot Lukaku strikes late to deny Palace

Romelu Lukaku extended his red-hot streak as the Everton striker's late equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

With 11 goals in 15 matches, Everton's Romelu Lukaku has been in red-hot form this season.   -  REUTERS

Romelu Lukaku extended his red-hot streak as the Everton striker's late equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday.

Lukaku has been in superb form over the last month and Palace were unable to subdue the Belgium international, who poked home from close-range with nine minutes remaining at Goodison Park.

The former Chelsea star now has 50 goals in 100 appearances for Everton since first joining them on loan in 2013 before making what now looks a bargain £28 million ($42 million, 38 million euros) permanent move a year later.

He has 14 goals in all competitions this season, with seven of that total coming in his last six matches.

Lukaku's latest crucial intervention was well-timed, coming just five minutes after Palace defender Scott Dann had headed the visitors into the lead.

Everton moved up to ninth place in the Premier League by extending their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions, while Palace climbed to the lofty heights of sixth.

"I am proud but I'm a team performer, so I'm happy with the record but disappointed we didn't get the three points. After their goal we reacted well, it shows we have great character in the team," Lukaku said of his goal milestone.

Everton had scored 10 in their last two home league matches, but if the watching Wayne Rooney was expecting another goal spree from his former club, the Manchester United captain was destined to leave disappointed.

Instead he had to make do with appreciating the talents of the powerful Lukaku and his Everton team-mate Ross Barkley.

In a low-key first half, Lukaku was unlucky not to open the scoring when his shot beat Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey but rebounded off the inside of the far post and flew across the face of goal. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard's legs came to the rescue after the break to deny Yannick Bolasie on the breakaway.

Then Dann's blushes were spared only by the crossbar as he almost headed Barkley's in-swinging free-kick past Hennessey into his own net.

Liverpool fan Dann thought he had completed a memorable Merseyside double, having scored the winner at Anfield a month ago, when he headed in from a corner in the 76th minute.

But Lukaku had the final word with nine minutes to go when he converted Gerard Deulofeu's low cross with an outstretched boot from virtually on the goal-line.

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