Everton holds Manchester City to draw
Marouane Fellaini made significant contributions at both ends as Everton frustrated champion Manchester City yet again Saturday.
Fellaini headed the Toffees, victors in eight of their previous 10 clashes with City, into a first-half lead but then conceded a controversial penalty to allow Carlos Tevez to level.
Everton felt Edin Dzeko had gone to ground too easily to win the award but Tevez made no mistake and City went on to dominate the second half.
The result preserved City's unbeaten start to the season in the Premier League and prolonged its run of home games without defeat to 37, a sequence stretching back to a loss to Everton two years ago.
"If you don't pay attention you can lose three points and it is sometimes better to take one," City manager Roberto Mancini said.
It was also Everton's seventh draw in its past nine games.
The match took some while to warm up and City suffered an early blow as Aleksandar Kolarov limped off after just six minutes.
Mancini had opted to rest the hard-working Pablo Zabaleta but the in-form Argentinian was summoned from the bench straight away.
The England defender looked composed as he resumed his partnership with Vincent Kompany after more than a month out of the starting lineup.
Everton playmaker Leon Osman gave the City defense plenty to think about in the early stages without creating a clear-cut opening.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had to pick himself up from a collision with Dzeko after coming to claim a cross from Maicon, who looked dangerous in attack but vulnerable in defense.
City threatened the Everton goal in the 20th minute when David Silva crossed and Dzeko headed wide.
Tevez controlled well in the area but was unable to shoot and Dzeko inadvertently took the full force of a Samir Nasri shot in the back of his head.
Everton's 33rd-minute opener came in familiar fashion as the ever-dangerous Leighton Baines, who passed a fitness test to play, crossed and Fellaini eventually headed in.
It was the Belgian's eighth goal of an impressive season.
That brought the game to life and City almost found an immediate equalizer as Tevez met a Nasri cross with a deft header that Howard did well to save.
Gareth Barry then chested down another Nasri cross for Dzeko to turn and shoot but again Howard was alert.
Controversy followed the resulting corner as Dzeko tangled with Fellaini and went to ground. Referee Lee Probert sparked immediate protest from Everton by pointing to the spot and Toffees manager David Moyes clearly thought the award was harsh. Tevez made no mistake as he stepped up to tuck home his eighth of the campaign.
"It is not a penalty kick," Moyes said. "I don't know how many penalties Manchester City have had in their home games recently, but as far as I know it is quite a few. They got another one today. You can't be giving ones like that. There'd be a penalty every time there's a corner kick."
Moyes' complaints to fourth official Anthony Taylor also seemed to be exacerbated by a case of mistaken identity.
"The fourth official told me that it was given for a foul by Leon Osman, so I've got my doubts if the referee saw the incident," Moyes said. "But even if it was Fellaini, it's not a penalty kick, nowhere near. They say it levels itself out. We'll see."
Mancini disagreed with Moyes' verdict on the penalty.
"I am not happy with some decisions," Mancini said. "There were five, six or seven situations that I didn't like. I think the penalty was a penalty. The fourth official was very close with me. How it is possible he can see from there what is going on in the box -- it is difficult. The referee was there."
Fellaini almost produced the perfect response in the final moments of the first half with a glancing header from a Steven Pienaar cross, but Hart saved.
That proved the final on-field action before the players left the field but Moyes continued to voice his frustration, presumably about the penalty decision, to the fourth official.
City upped the tempo at the start of the second half but again it took time before the chances came, aside from a Tevez shot that was blocked by Phil Jagielka.
Tevez almost broke away after a miskick by Distin but the defender recovered quickly to nick the ball away from the striker.
Tevez also headed over but it was not until just after the hour that City seriously threatened again as Maicon burst down the field and forced Howard to parry a powerful 18-yard drive.
City decided to freshen up its attack by sending on Sergio Aguero, but the crowd was not happy that it was Tevez he replaced and boos rang around the ground.
The game became scrappy as Everton's hard-working defense did its best to repel City's threat.
Mario Balotelli also entered the action for the last 10 minutes in place of Dzeko and did inject a bit of energy into the side. His first chance to aim at goal, however, was probably best forgotten as he screwed a shot well wide.
Nasri then combined well with Silva in the area but could only win a corner.
Everton went close in injury time from a Jelavic free kick, but Hart saved and the ball squirmed wide.
Information from Press Association was used in this report.