Unpleasant crowd trouble from the Hadjuk Split faithful overshadowed what was a solid performance from Everton in the Europa League yesterday evening.
The Toffees saw off tests defensively from the Croatian outfit whilst demonstrating their quality at the other end, opening the scoring with a Michael Keane header before adding to it through Idrissa Gueye’s close-range strike.
Wayne Rooney’s smart turn and pass on the edge of the box unleashed the industrious midfielder, who slotted the ball past Dante Stipica.
But that was by no means the 27-year-old’s only vital contribution of the evening. Indeed, he finished up with the most tackles and the second-most interceptions of any player on the pitch, while ranking third throughout the Everton team for touches of the ball.
If the Toffees are to claim anything from their trip to Manchester City next Monday, they’ll need the tenacious Senegalese in top form, disrupting the rhythm of Pep Guardola’s attacking cast as much as possible.
But judging on last night’s performance, Gueye looks ready to inspire an upset at the Etihad Stadium.