Everton Down Hard-Fighting Gor in Pre-Season Friendly
By Timothy Olobulu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — Wayne Rooney announced his return to Everton in Emphatic fashion scoring the opening goal as the Blues beat Kenyan giants Gor Mahia 2-1 in a pre-season friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Thursday evening.
Kieran Dowell hit the winner with another well taken effort in the second half as the Merseyside club began their preparations for the new season with a win.
Ronald Koeman fielded two different sides in either half with Gor also making almost wholesome changes periodically as the half progressed. It was the second Everton team that injected pace into the game and should have had more goals.
Clearly, though Rooney's goal might have stolen the show for the first half, an overzealous fan picked up as much highlight when he raced into the pitch in the 21st minute only to huge the scorer of the mercurial goal; Rooney.
Draped in a Manchester United jersey, the young man raced from the stands and into the centre of the pitch, hugely applauded by fan taking much advantage of a short stoppage occasioned by the injury to Ernest Wendo.
After getting a hug from the England international, the fan was carried away by the police. However, the stadium announcer said minutes later the young lad should be released through instruction from the provincial police boss.
Everton head coach Ronald Koeman started a strong team with Rooney, new signing Davy Klaasen, Morgan Schneiderlin, skipper Phil Jagielka and the returning Aaron Lennon all starting.
The opening 20 minutes of the match though were not occasioned with much action infront of goal each team taking time to settle into the match just passing the ball around with ease.
The first effort at goal came through in the 13th minute with Rooney's effort from a freekick being easily collected by Boniface Oluoch. On the opposite end, Wendo had a shot go wide from the edge of the area.
The midfielder who had put in a shift in the opening minutes picked up a groin injury a few minutes later and had to be substituted for Philemon Otieno.
After the restart with the pitch invader whisked away, Karim Nizigiyimana who had been impressive in the opening minutes of the match had two good chances but both went begging.
He was first picked out with a great pass from Tuyisenge, but his shot went above the bar in the 24th minute. Four minutes later, a similar ball swung in by Meddie Kagere found him with acres of space, but he took a heavy first touch with Phil Jagielka racing back to cover.
But it was the visiting team who would break the deadlock and came the moment, came the man. Rooney, in his first match for the Blues since returning after 17 years struck a belter from the edge of the box, after being accorded space from an Olamola Lookman pass.
Gor however replied just three minutes later when Tuyisenge sneaked in at the near post to head home a Nizigiyimana cross.
Tuyisenge seemed to be in the mood and two minutes to half time, he struck a low shot inside the box after two stopovers accorded him space, but the shot was saved by keeper Martin Stekelenberg.
A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @KakaTimm