Romelu Lukaku played the role of the hero for Everton on Tuesday night with a 92nd-minute equaliser to earn his side a 1-1 home draw against West Ham United in the FA Cup third-round.
West Ham defender James Collins had given the visitors the lead in the 56th-minute with a thumping header from Morgan Amalfitano’s corner, before Lukaku fired in Bryan Oviedo’s late cross to spare his side a fifth successive defeat.
Signed from Chelsea in the summer for a club-record £28 million fee after a successful season-long loan, the Belgian striker’s performances have come in for some criticism this season considering his price tag, but on this occasion he looked sharp and engaged.
|Goals||Shots||Ontarget Shots||Total Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Aerial Duels Won||Aerial Duels Lost||Total Dribbles||Successful Dribbles||Touches||Dispossessed|
Testing the Hammers defence throughout the 90 minutes with his strength and drive, his showing earned particular praise from manager Roberto Martinez, who believes his main man can now help fire the Toffees up the Premier League table.
"I love the attitude he showed," the Spaniard told Eurosport at the final whistle. "He was penetrating and he worked extremely hard to get that physicality and power back in his body and when he is in that sort of mood he is the best.
"To get that reward at the end will give him the world of confidence. When he shows that attitude it is a big strength of ours.
"I look at his reaction [to being left on the bench]. He never accepted he didn't want to improve or get refreshed.
"I think he has taken that really well, shown a good attitude and I thought his game looked back to his very best.
"Now, at the start of the second half of the season, that is massive for us. If we want to be successful we need him at his very best."