Honours even as Blues draw with Racing Club
A warm, sunny afternoon saw Everton complete their pre-season travels with a competitive work-out against Genk with Wayne Rooney on the score sheet again.
The Everton entourage made the short hop from De Lutte in Holland to Genk in Belgium for their final pre-season game on the road, and the eagerly awaited debuts of goalie Jordan Pickford and Spanish forward Sandro Ramirez.
Against a full-strength Genk outfit, Ronald Koeman lined the Blues up: Pickford, Baines (c), Williams, Keane, Holgate, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Klaassen, Dowell, Rooney and Ramirez.
A steady start by the Blues saw them knocking the ball around confidently with everyone getting an early touch until a slip by Holgate gave the home side a shooting opportunity that was deflected and no problem for Pickford to deal with. Genk had a second chance a couple of minutes later but Trossard fired his shot wide of the target.
The Blues, playing in the new silver away kit, first chance came on 12 minutes when Holgate found Dowell and his floated cross into the box saw a glancing header by Rooney parried and gathered by teenager Nordin Jackers in the Genk goal.
A quick throw-in from the left found Trossard in space again, but again he screwed his 25-yard shot wide of the Everton goal.
Trossard was proving to be the biggest menace from the home side as some excellent work from Manuel Benson worked the ball to the number 14 in the box, but his shot on the turn again went wide across the face of goal, but the warning signs were clear to see.
An ankle tap from behind on Ramirez presented Everton with a long-distance free kick that Wayne Rooney curled only just over the crossbar.
The half hour mark came with Genk on the front foot, Pickford saving a long range shot after a midfield giveaway from Klaassen and Trossard again failing to beat the Everton debutante goalie with a close range header.
Michael Keane picked up a yellow card for a pull back on Samatta as the Belgian outfit continued to enjoy the better quality of the possession and attacking chances.
A long ball from Keane found Ramirez in the right channel and he controlled it before finding Rooney who’s early shot was off target, but the quick play by Ramirez caught the eye.
Rooney, taking a pass from Klaassen, re-paid the compliment with a quick pass into the left channel that Ramirez controlled before firing in a shot that Jackers in the Genk goal was happy to smother.
Genk captain Thomas Buffel somehow escaped a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Davy Klaassen, strange considering the card waved earlier at Keane for an innocuous pull-back.
Klaassen whipped in a left wing cross for Keane to header just over from the edge of the box as Everton looked to finish the half strongly and they did in some style.
The 43rd minute saw Kieran Dowell break up a Genk move in midfield, find Sandro Ramirez in space wide on the right and his instant cross low across the face of goal was sweetly finished by Wayne Rooney.
Sandro assist ?
Rooney goal ?@WayneRooney puts #EFC ahead! 1-0#EvertonLive: https://t.co/m1rIpwvD9C pic.twitter.com/DOMiSZlVF4
— Everton (@Everton) July 22, 2017
Half Time: 0-1
The competitive nature of the game played in hot sunshine saw Ronald Koeman make three half-time changes, bringing Maarten Stekelenburg, Cuco Martina and Kevin Mirallas on for Jordan Pickford, Mason Holgate and Sandro Ramirez respectively.
The growing understanding between Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney was evident in the opening minutes of the second stanza s they liked and exchanged quick passes in a couple of early moves, an understanding that bodes well for the coming season.
The 55th minute saw Genk draw level as the ball was lifted the ball into the Everton box and the clearing header from Martina fell nicely for Tanzanian Ally Samatta who wasted no time despatching the ball past Stekelenburg for 1-1.
Genk nearly took lead two minutes later as a cross from the right saw a point blank diving header from Samatta superbly saved by Stekelenburg turning the ball up onto the crossbar for Keane to hammer clear.
Passing the hour mark, Everton sent out Barry, Connolly McCarthy, Besic and Lookman to warm up.
Baines with a timely tackle found Dowell and his long ball for Wayne Rooney saw him try an audacious chip that Jackers did well to reach and turn over the cross bar.
The game was swinging end to end and Trossard fed Buffel but he mistimed his volley well off target.
Gareth Barry, Callum Connolly and Ademola Lookman came on in the 67th minute replacing Morgan Schneiderlin, Leighton Baines and Kieran Dowell respectively, Baines passing the captains armband to Wayne Rooney.
Ronald Koeman made further changes in the 73rd minute bringing on Tom Davies, Mo Besic and James McCarthy coming on for Davy Klaassen, Ashley Williams and Gana Gueye.
Mo Besic dived into a rash tackle and picked up an immediate and rather needless yellow card that resulted in Stekelenburg saving low to his right hand side from Leandro Trossard.
Genk too made changes and the number of changes and stoppages in play disrupted the rhythm of the game somewhat, but given the heat and sunshine, both sides would probably welcome the short breaks.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaced Wayne Rooney for the last 12 minutes.
Davies and McCarthy combined to give Mirallas a chance to run at the Genk defence and his mazy run was eventually stopped before he could get a shot away.
Everton pushed for a late winner with shots from Mirallas and Connolly blocked and allowing Genk to break at speed without troubling Stekelenburg who was quick off his line to gather an overhit through ball.
Full Time: 1-1
Manager Ronald Koeman will be satisfied with the overall effort shown by the squad against a Genk side who proved to be very decent opposition and they certainly took the challenge seriously.
The squad returned to Merseyside straight after the game with full concentration now turning towards the opening game of the Europa League campaign on Thursday night when Slovakian side Ruzomberok come to Goodison.
And there is also the final touches of the summer transfer shopping to be attended too as Everton will look to further strengthen their ranks for the new season.