It took them awhile to get going, but Everton were able to pip Kenyan side Gor Mahia 2-1 in their first preseason game. The trouble Blues’ fans had with the official online stream of the match made things seem even more interminable, but goals by Wayne Rooney and Kieran Dowell kept the mood light. The Blues head back to Merseyside deserved victors.
Stunning goal from Rooney pic.twitter.com/UpFVWAhyse— TheToffeeBlues (@EvertonNewsFeed) July 13, 2017
Everton started the game slowly, with fitness and rustiness clearly an issue. Players who hadn’t got any game time over the summer struggled, particularly the likes of James McCarthy and Ashley Williams. If McCarthy was in the shop window, he did not do himself any favors, committing a few fouls and generally being horrendous.
Ronald Koeman started the game with a strong first eleven, as both Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen received Everton debuts.
Rooney and Klaassen acquitted themselves well, as did Ademola Lookman and Aaron Lennon. The defensive corps struggled with Gor Mahia’s few chances, particularly when the Kenyan side equalized off a corner kick. Maarten Stekelenburg was not to blame - Calum Connolly hung him out to dry at the near post.
In the second half, Everton were much better. The attack of Kieran Dowell, Kevin Mirallas, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin linked together with aplomb. Mirallas in particular was quite lively, and Dowell nabbed the game winner after striking the bar just earlier.
Michael Keane also made his debut in the final 45’, pairing with Muhamed Besic in the center of defense. Keane showed an impressive range of passing, while Besic was, typically, not afraid to get stuck in or storm forward.
All told, Everton had a productive trip to Tanzania. The squad had opportunities to bond, and the new signings received enough playing time that Ronald Koeman will have been encouraged by most of the performances.
For now, it’s on to the next match against FC Twente. Sandro Ramirez, Jordan Pickford, and Mason Holgate will be back with the team by then. Will Gylfi Sigurdsson be on board, too?