Date: 14th July 2017 at 8:38am
Written by:

Everton brought the curtain down on a trip to Tanzania with a victory.

Kenya’s most successful side were the opening opposition for the Blues in pre-season – Tanzania was selected as part of the new record sponsorship deal with SportPesa – and Wayne Rooney marked his Toffees return with a goal.

However, another fine strike, from Kiernan Dowell, secured Everton’s 2-1 win over Gor Mahia.

Rooney did what Rooney does best when he showed a touch of class when smashing an effort past goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch from 30 yards. Gor Mahia were level shortly after though when Jacques Tuyisenge was afforded space to head home.

A first half that included Rooney and fellow signing Davy Klaassen was changed at the interval with a fresh XI fielded, including another new Blue Michael Keane.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw a goal (incorrectly) disallowed with Keane ruled offside and Idrissa Gueye had a shot cleared off the line as Everton looked as if we would have to settle for a draw.

But Dowell, who had also been denied by the frame of the goal, came up trumps as the England U20 World Cup winner scored a 25 yard winner.

Ronald Koeman told the Official Website he was happy with the efforts, especially the second half when he fielded an entirely different XI against a Gor Mahia side who ‘made it tough’ for us.

‘Overall, I`m happy. It was our first friendly – we saw the difference in the second half and we created good chances to score more goals. It was a good game but a difficult one, Gor Mahia made it tough for us. They dropped their intensity a little bit in the second half and we were the better team with fresh players.’

Adding: ‘They were a good team and made it hard for us to find our extra man in midfield. They can be proud of their performance and I want to give them a lot of compliments for making it so tough for us.’

Everton’s appearance in Tanzania saw us become the first Premier League side to play a game there. This was a spell Koeman said all enjoyed with the Blues made to feel welcome in a positive trip.

Koeman added: ‘It has been an enjoyable stay. It has been short because of our pre-season schedule ahead of the Europa League, but I want to thank everyone for the welcome we have had. I have really enjoyed my time here. I enjoyed the intensity of the friendly as well. It has been a positive trip.’

Now we return to a European base to face FC Twente in Holland on Wednesday before facing it’s on to Belgian club Genk on Saturday week.

Join The Vital Debate