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Van Persie's late leveller rescues Arsenal

Thursday, January 29, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 11:27 AM

LIVERPOOL – Robin van Persie hit a dramatic late equaliser for Arsenal to rescue a 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Van Persie's late leveller rescues Arsenal Arsenal's Dutch forward Robin Van Persie waves to the travelling supporters after scoring the equalising

Until the unexpected finale, it has appeared that the remarkable season being enjoyed by Tim Cahill and Everton would continue as the Australian international headed his side into a deserved lead just after the hour mark.

The three points would have lifted the Merseyside club to within two points of Arsene Wenger's men as they currently contest fifth place and the UEFA Cup spot available from the Premier League standings.

While Everton can take some solace from the draw, the point did little to boost Arsenal's hopes of a top four finish.

Van Persie finished from an acute angle on the left-side of the Everton area, a sweetly struck effort which whistled past keeper Tim Howard after the Dutchman collected a through ball from Abou Diaby.

That cancelled out Cahill's 61st minute effort, his fourth goal in the last eight games since being pressed into action as an emergency solo striker, a move forced upon manager David Moyes due to the loss, at various times, of four front line forwards.

Cahill, who now has eight goals for the campaign, has slotted into the unfamiliar role like a natural and any striker in the league would have been proud of his latest finish.

Steven Pienaar's short pass down the left wing found Leighton Baines whose perfectly-weighted centre allowed the Australian time to rise above the static Gael Clichy and guide the ball expertly past Manuel Almunia's dive into the bottom left-hand corner.

The visitors had pressured Everton in a strong start, which featured a fifth minute free-kick from van Persie which was deflected behind by the head of Cahill.

But, thereafter in the goalless first half, Everton matched and even outplayed the visitors for long periods.

An early Leon Osman cross just eluded South African winger Pienaar before the latter started an overlapping left-wing move which ended with Johan Djourou just beating Marouane Fallaini to Leighton Baines' near-post cross.

A bright period for the home side continued with Phil Jagielka glancing Mikel Arteta's cross wide and Cahill almost latching onto another Osman through ball.

It had been a disappointing first half given the respective form of the two sides although the second half opened with the promise of better to come, Fellaini's first foray into the opposition box ending only when his shot was blocked by Arsenal's massed defence.

Action swung quickly to the other end, in the 51st minute, when van Persie's darting run took him through the heart of the Everton midfield and allowed him to play an intelligent square ball to Denilson only for his team mate to place an awful shot high and wide.

Three minutes later, however, Cahill gave a warning of things to come after William Gallas' clearing header only reached Arteta.

The Everton man combined with Pienaar to play in Cahill who found space impressively before driving his shot into the side netting.

Cahill might have wrapped things up for his team ten minutes from time but his terrific shot was parried by the body of Almunia.

Worse was to follow for the Australian - even before Arsenal's equaliser - as he limped out of the action injured four minutes from time.

The rousing standing ovation he received from the home fans was indicative of how important his fitness will be to Everton's season.

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