West Brom draw with Everton

West Bromwich Albion's Diego Lugano equalised in the 75th minute with a near-post header.

West Bromwich Albion's Diego Lugano equalised in the 75th minute with a near-post header. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON - West Bromwich Albion marked Spaniard Pepe Mel's first home game in charge by retrieving a one-goal deficit to draw 1-1 with Everton in the Premier League on Monday.

Former Real Betis manager Mel, who picked Nicolas Anelka despite a club row with sponsors Zoopla over the former France striker's alleged anti-Semitic gesture in a match last month, watched his side go behind in the 41st minute.

Romelu Lukaku headed the ball down just outside the penalty box for fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas and the winger ran on to beat West Brom keeper Ben Foster.

Uruguayan Diego Lugano equalised for the hosts in the 75th minute with a near-post header following a right wing cross by James Morrison.

Everton thought they had grabbed the winner with the final kick of the game but defender Sylvain Distin was ruled offside after touching in Gareth Barry's shot from close range.

The draw lifted West Brom from 14th to 13th in the table while Everton stayed in sixth position, nine points adrift of leaders Arsenal with 16 games remaining.

Meanwhile, Property website Zoopla, a company co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, has announced that it will not continue with its sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion following an outcry over an alleged anti-Semitic gesture made by striker Nicolas Anelka during a Premier League game last month.

The company said in a statement on Monday its deal with the club would not continue beyond the end of the season in May.

The statement followed media reports Zoopla would pull out of the £3 million contract unless West Brom dropped Anelka for Monday's league game against Everton, the first since Spaniard Pepe Mel took over as manager.

Anelka made the "quenelle" gesture after scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 draw at West Ham on 28 December.

The quenelle, invented by French comedian Dieudonne, has drawn widespread condemnation in Anelka's homeland and from anti-racist and Jewish groups in England who have demanded the player be banned.

The Football Association is yet to report back on its investigation into the matter and the club said in a statement on 30 December that Anelka remained eligible for selection.

The striker, who has played in both West Brom's league matches since, promised not to repeat it but did not apologise for his actions.

According to the _Daily Mail _newspaper Zoopla wanted its name removed from Anelka's shirt for Monday's match, but the company name was still on his jersey when the Frenchman emerged from the tunnel for the start.