Everton saw off Croatian side Hajduk Split by a 2-0 scoreline today, thanks in large part to a dominant performance during the first half.
Michael Keane got the first goal of the game and his first goal for the club, while Idrissa Gana Gueye nabbed the second marker before the first 45 minutes were out.
The game was marred somewhat by unruly behavior from the traveling Croatian supporters. That seems to be par for the course in the Europa League, though, and it appeared the Goodison security contingent got things under control with minimal damage and no injuries.
New boy Gylfi Sigurdsson took in his first Everton match as a Toffee, and was introduced to the crowd prior to kickoff. Fellow new signings Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane were superb. Klaassen had a major role in both goals thanks to a few deft touches, and Keane was immense in defense throughout.
Keane’s goal came on a Leighton Baines run into the area. The ageless left-back burst forward, taking a flick on from Klaassen and chipping it to the far post, where Keane buried the ball into the net.
Prior to half time, Klaassen stole the ball away from a Hajduk defender, and quickly played it into Wayne Rooney. Wayne held off his defender, and slipped Gueye in behind the defense where the Senegalese international expertly finished the move.
The pace slowed in the second half, but then, that could have been expected - the Blues got the goals they needed, and are well on their way towards Europa League group stage qualification.
Muhamed Besic made his return to competitive action for Everton late in the final frame, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies also made appearances. Davies was brought on at half time for Morgan Schneiderlin - the Frenchman had picked up an early first-half yellow card after otherwise playing very well.
Everton will now head to the Etihad on Monday to face a potent Manchester City side, prior to a trip to Croatia for the second leg against Hajduk Split. All told, it’s been a solid start to the competitive season for the Blues. Four games, five scored, none conceded. That’ll do.