Everton manager Ronald Koeman has heaped praise on their opponents Gor Mahia after they were given a run for their money in the 2-1 win on Thursday evening.
With a charged crowd at the National stadium in Dar es Salaam, the Toffees had to find extra magic to overcome the stubborn K’Ogalo team that had a brilliant first half before turning on the tempo in the second half.
‘Our opponents did really well in the first half and showed really good character. They worked really hard’
‘They played using a 4-4-2 formation that really helped them before we turned things around in the second half.’
‘In the second half they dropped a little bit and Everton played well,’
‘It was a first friendly match for us and this is what we really needed. We created more chances to score goals and we are happy with the general performance from both teams.’
The Dutchman has meanwhile said that England midfielder Ross Barkley is still part of his plans for the 2017/18 season.
Speculations had risen over the England international future linked with a mega move to Manchester City. Barkley is still injured and his coach believes that he will come back better before the start of the next campaign.
‘He is still out injured, and we all understand his situation and we are hopeful that he comes out stronger,’
Koeman who’s side beat Gor Mahia 2-1 in a friendly match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam admits that he will have to make three more signings to bolster the squad.
The Toffees have not found a replacement for Romelu Lukaku who has since departed to rivals Manchester United.
‘We will make three more players before the start of the season to fill in some of the gaps left by those who departed,’
‘We have had a tough pre-season match which helped us gauge our strengths ahead of the upcoming season,’
‘After here, we embark on more serious work and we believe we will be ready for the Europa League in two week’s time,’
In the match, Everton found it difficult in the first 15 minutes of the game and barely sniffed at goal until the 13th minute when Boniface Oluoch calmly collected a tame Wayne Rooney free-kick. Rooney was however not denied in the 34th minute of the game when he riffled a 30-yard shot that caught Oluoch napping. The goal sent raptures across the National Stadium as he raised his arms and kissed and pointed his hands to the sky.
In the second half as Ronald Koeman sent out a new XI, including new signing Michael Keane, Tom Davies and Mateusz Hewelt in goal. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was chosen to lead the line, and after a lively introduction, he went close to putting Everton back ahead.
The 20-year-old ran on to Kevin Mirallas’ pass but his low shot was tipped away by second half substitute Peter Odhiambo, before Idrissa Gana Gueye saw his follow-up at the back post blocked on the line.
Everton became more dominant, and it was Calvert-Lewin’s Kieran Dowell who came close.
The midfielder was not to be denied second later, though. Taking the lead from Rooney, the Academy graduate found space through the centre and unleashed a powerful 20-yard strike past Odhiambo on the hour mark.