Everton 1-0 Stoke: Wayne Rooney nets on Premier League return for Toffees

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Everton's English striker Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on August 12, 2017.

Wayne Rooney is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring
Wayne Rooney is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring

Wayne Rooney scored on his Premier League return to Everton as they beat Stoke 1-0 in their opening fixture of the season.

It was a fairy-tale return to his boyhood club as Rooney headed home the winning goal in the added minute of injury time in the first half, and sealed the three points for the hosts.

The Toffees had drawn their last four opening day matches but managed to hold out for the victory against a Stoke side who had very few clear-cut chances, with Xherdan Shaqiri almost snatching a draw late on, only to be denied by a superb Jordan Pickford save.

The first half saw scoring efforts at a premium, although Mame Biram Diouf forced Pickford into a good stop after 10 minutes as the goalkeeper pushed the Stoke forward’s shot over the crossbar at his near post.

Deal of the day

Idrissa Gueye went closest for Everton in the opening period. He thrashed an effort towards Jack Butland’s goal just after the 20 minute mark from the top of the box, only to see it well collected by the Potters stopper, before he tried again from the same distance three minutes later after an Everton corner was half-cleared but it flew wide.

As the fourth official signalled for a minute of added time, Rooney made it a return to remember as he netted the opening goal. He set off the move himself with the ball going through Gueye, Sandro Ramirez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin down the right flank before the latter whipped a cross into the box which Rooney rose to meet, powering the ball past Butland.

Bojan Krkic tussles with Idrissa Gueye at Goodison Park
Bojan Krkic tussles with Idrissa Gueye at Goodison Park

Stoke started the second half well and could have had an equalising goal five minutes after the break, but Erik Pieters’ fine cross flashed past four Stoke players in the box before Kurt Zouma produced a fantastic tackle to deny Clavert-Lewin a one-on-one with the goalkeeper at the other end.

Darren Fletcher also went close for the visitors just before the hour mark as Joe Allen slotted the ball into feet, allowing the Scotland international to let fly from around 20 yards but it just flashed wide of Pickford’s post.

The fantastic battled between Zouma and Calvert-Lewin continued throughout the second half and the Everton youngster left the defender on the floor in the 69th minute, bursting into the area but his shot at goal was kept at bay by the hands of Butland.

His opposite number Pickford was the hero for Everton in the 93rd minute as Xherdan Shaqiri drove towards the box and let fly with a thunderous effort, the England goalkeeper making a superb leaping save to ensure the three points stayed at Goodison Park.