Koeman impressed by Gor's performance

By alex wafula
Jul 14, 2017
  • Gor Mahia's Jacques Tuyisenge powers past Everton right back Jonjoe Kenny. He scored the lone goal. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Gor Mahia's Godfrey Walusimbi vies for the ball with Everton's Aaron Lennon. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Wayne Rooney gets a hug from a fan before being escorted off the pitch. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Ronald Koeman, the Everton FC coach was impressed by Gor Mahia's performance especially in the first half when they fielded their strongest team a pre-season friendly match at the Dar es Salaam National Stadium.

“The whole team did well. They are technically good because we found it hard to get our free man in midfield in the first half."

"They were tough and scored a good goal from a corner and I think they can be proud overall of their performance today. It was really tough match and that’s what we like in a pre-season,” Koeman said after the match.

Gor were equally happy with their output despite losing 1-2 against an Everton side that finished seventh on the English Premier League table last season.

Dylan Kerr, the new K’Ogalo tactician praised his side’s attitude and performance despite their loss.

“Against such an opposition to play as well as we did, I think I can be very proud of the team. Of course there are a few areas we were exposed in especially in the second half, but this was a great experience for us,” Kerr offered.

There was a moment of humor in the match when a fan jumped off the stands and raced onto the pitch to hug Wayne Rooney.

The fan dressed in a Manchester United jersey was quickly chased down by police, but that could not stop him from lifting his hands high in celebration as the crowd cheered.

England’s highest scoring forward Rooney turned on the style scoring the opening goal as English Premier League side Everton FC beat Kenyan Premier League record champions Gor Mahia FC 2-1 in a friendly match on Thursday.

Rwandese forward Jacques Tuyisenge had cancelled out the former Manchester United man’s sublime opener with a nifty header.

But youngster Kieran Dowell’s equally sumptuous finish in the second half handed Ronald Koeman’s men a win in their first pre-season match.

Early intention

Koeman showed his intention with a strong starting team. New signing Rooney started up in attack while another new boy, former Ajax captain Davy Klaasen partnered Morgan Schneiderlin in defense.

There was nothing much to write about in the opening minutes. Everton with just one week back into training didn’t look their usual fast side and they sometimes struggled to keep the high tempo especially in attack.

Gor were calm and didn’t show any signs of stage-fright, passing the ball confidently from the back and the crowd loved it.

The first shot on target in the match came in the 13th minute when Rooney’s curling freekick from distance was well handled by Boniface Oluoch.

Midfielder Ernest Wendo who had given a good performance in midfield winning possession off Klaasen and Schneiderlin disappointedly had to be stretchered off injured after pulling his groin.

Wendo had gone upfield in attack and his effort at a shot which went wide seemed to have stretched his muscles.

It was at this opportune time when Wendo was receiving treatment that the pitch invader decided it was his time to say his hellos to Wazza.

Gor’s players on either wing, Karim Nizigiyimana and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo had put in a good game as well, dazzling fans with their speed and mastery of the ball.

Nizigiyimana had two opportunities to crown his performance with a goal but none of those came into fruition.

Tuyisenge switched the ball from left to right sweetly, finding the Burundian whose shot skied over the bar.

Second opportunity

The second opportunity was even better as Kagere’s similar switch found him in acres of space, but a heavy first touch took the ball far away and Phil Jagielka managed to dispossess him.

Everton had began to pick up pace with Ademola Lookman being the most lively upfront. The England starlet provided the opening goal, picking out Rooney at the edge of the box after going past one marker.

The striker didn’t waste the effort and once he had his head up with space around him, shot straight into the top right of Oluoch’s goal.

K’Ogalo responded three minutes later drawing back parity. Tuyisenge sneaked away from his marker to glance a Nizigiyimana header past Marten Stekelenburg and into the net.

The Rwandese almost grabbed a second towards the break when he sliced in a low shot, but the keeper was equal to the task this time round.

In the second half, Koeman pulled off the entire team and brought in a fresh 11. Kerr on Gor’s side started off with two changes, Kagere and keeper Oluoch coming off for Timothy Otieno and Peter Odhiambo.

The second Everton team brought a lot of pace with them and Gor suddenly looked vulnerable. Kevin Mirallas who was playing out wide on the left had brought in so much danger with his speed and ball-work.

On the hour mark, Everton came close to a second but Harun Shakava made a superb sliding save to block the ball off the line from an Idrissa Gueye effort.

Stolen ball

Dom Colvert-Lewin had stolen the ball off Nizigiyimana on the left and placed it to the far post with Gueye rushing for it.

Three minutes later, Gueye, a Senegalese international came close with two ferocious shots from distance which were equally well saved by Odhiambo in Gor’s goal.

The Toffees were now creating more chances and they had a shot come off the crossbar. Mirallas placed a freekick short to Dowell but the midfielder’s left footer hit the bar.

Dowell however got his goal in the 63rd minute when Dowell struck a superb rocket of a shot from range, leaving Odhiambo dazed.

Despite going down, Kerr made more changes to give more players a taste of the game. Everton used this opportunity to attack more and pile the pressure on Gor who were now defending deep in their own half.

Koeman’s boys created another chance with quick moves at the edge of the box leaving Gor defenders in sixes and sevens.

A swift interchange of passes inside the box between Mirallas, Colvert Lewin and Dowell found the latter one on one with Odhiambo, but the custodian spread his body nicely on the ground to thwart the effort.

On the other end, Innocent Wafula was presented with a chance after swiftly pacing away his markers, but he could not make a final decision just a few yards off goal.

Instead of taking a shot with the keeper at his mercy though from a tight angle, Wafula chose to cut back and completely diluted the attack. Despite their increased pressure and possession, Everton could not get a third.

Starting teams:

Gor Mahia: Boniface Oluoch, Karim Nizigiyimana, Harun Shakava, Musa Mohamed (c), Godfrey Walusimbi, Boniface Omondi, Kenneth Muguna, Ernest Wendo, Meddie Kagere, George Odhiambo, Jacques Tuyisenge.

Subs: Fredrick Odhiambo, Innocent Wafula, Joachim Oluoch, Wellington Ochieng, Mike Simiyu, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, Francis Kahata

Everton: Maarten Stekelenburg (GK), Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams, Calum Connolly, Jonjo Kenny, James McCarthy, Morgan Schneiderlin, Davy Klaasen, Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon, Ademola Lookman.

Subs: Mateusz Hewlett, Leighton Baines, Michael Keane, Tom Davies, Dom Colwert-Lewin, Kevin Mirallas, Mathew Pennington, Idrissa Gueye, Garreth Barry, Mo Besic, Kieran Dowell.