Everton’s pre-season preparations got off to a winning start against Gor Mahia, as Wayne Rooney marked his return with a superb strike.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring on his Everton return but it was left to one of the Premier League club’s next generation to seal a 2-1 win over Gor Mahia in Tanzania.
Rooney, who secured a move back to his boyhood club after 13 decorated seasons at Manchester United, fired in a dipping effort from 30 yards against Everton’s Kenyan Premier League opponents.
Gor Mahia were level through Meddie Kagere before the interval but 19-year-old midfielder Kieran Dowell drilled in from the edge of the box in the 82nd minute to ensure Ronald Koeman’s men enjoyed a winning start to pre-season.
Alongside Rooney, new signing Davy Klaassen also started for Everton with Aaron Lennon – the former England winger who is back in training with Koeman’s first-team squad following a stress related illness.
Rooney saw a 17th-minute free-kick comfortably gathered by Boniface Oluoch but the Gor Mahia goalkeeper will have been a little disappointed when England’s record goalscorer clinically caught him off his line in 11 minutes before the interval.
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Gor Mahia were swiftly back on terms in the 38th minute, as Kagere powered in a header from a corner and the striker tested Maarten Stekelenburg in the Everton goal ahead of the half-time whistle.
Another new recruit, England defender Michael Keane, was introduced among a host of changes at the break along with Dowell – a member of England’s triumphant Under-20 World Cup side – and Everton had long been in the ascendancy before he found the net.
Substitute goalkeeper Jerim Onyango excelled himself to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dowell either side of the winner, while Keane – stationed alongside Mo Besic at the heart of defence after Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams combined for the first period – was able to help see out victory in relative comfort.