Everton 0-1 Villarreal: Giuseppe Rossi strike condemns hosts to friendly defeat
Seamus Coleman was substituted shortly before half-time with an injury to his foot as the Toffees conclude their pre-season campaign on a disappointing note
By Jonathan Birchall at Goodison Park
A 65th minute effort from former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi was enough to secure victory for the visitors, who were the better side for much of the game.
The clash was a repeat of the controversial 2005 Champions League qualifying round second-leg, which saw the Spaniards advance to the group stage at the expense of David Moyes' men, and the Toffees failed to exact revenge over the Liga outfit during an occasionally ill-tempered fixture.
The visitors had been drawn to play Danish side Odense BK in the final play-off round of Champions League qualification earlier on Friday and their superb build-up play early on certainly offered evidence of why they have become such a force amongst the traditional household names of the Spanish game.
Despite clearly lacking the same level of fitness as their hosts, the Yellow Submarine more than made up for it with their deft display of passing early on.
The pedestrian pace at which the first half ran was to be expected of course, but not long into their pre-season preparations, it was a tempo far more suited to Juan Carlos Garrido's men.
The more languid the game became, the less likely a breakthrough appeared and other than half-chances for the impressive Ross Barkley and Louis Saha, there was little for the home fans to get excited about as the half time whistle approached.
The supposed friendly took a decidedly nasty turn on the stroke of half-time though, as Seamus Coleman was substituted for Tim Cahill after an awful challenge from World Cup winner Carlos Marchena. Most worrying for the hosts was that this looked a change made out of necessity, rather than pre-season caution.
Everton improved in the second half and chased the game from the off, with Leighton Baines forcing a fine save out of Diego Lopez early on but it was the visitors that finally opened the scoring shortly after the hour mark.
With the Liga side having won a free-kick following a Sylvain Distin lunge on the edge of the area, Rossi hammered a phenomenal strike into Tim Howard’s top-right corner, giving the American no chance.
It was a finish that will have been of great interest to the watching Harry Redknapp, with the Spurs boss said to be interested in securing a move for the Italy striker before the end of the transfer window.
Moyes' men struggled to respond and the game played out with few chances of note. Everton will now look towards their opening game of the Premier League season away to Tottenham on August 13.
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