Everton 2-1 Gor Mahia: Gallant K'Ogalo fall to The Toffees
Wayne Rooney marked his return to boyhood club with a spectacular strike as The Toffees edged out K'Ogalo in a friendly

Wayne Rooney grabbed a goal on his debut as Everton laboured to beat Gor Mahia 2-1 in a friendly played on Thursday.

The former Manchester United striker powered Everton into the lead in the 35th minute but the goal was shortlived as Gor Mahia levelled matters courtesy of a well taken header from striker Jacques TuyisengeDowell then won the game for The Toffees with eight minutes to the final whistle after unleashing unstoppable left footed shot.

K'Ogalo came into the match as underdogs considering the caliber of their opponents, who fielded the likes of Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka, Morgan Schneiderlin, Aaron Lennon and Rooney.

It was the English side that started the match strongly, pushing the Kenyan side to their own half, forcing them to commit mistakes especially in the second minute when captain Musa Mohammed failed to control the ball, but recovered to play with his counterpart Harun Shakava, who cleared the danger.

Gor Mahia grew in confidence as the match progressed, reducing the Toffees to chasing shadows, failing to control the midfield. In the 8th minute, Schneiderlin gave the ball away in the dangerous position, but the over ambitious Kenneth Muguna mis-kicked it for a throw in.

The East African side was forced to make a change in the 24th minute when Earnest Wendo picked a hamstring injury, and Philemon Otieno replaced him. But that did not deter the dominant Gor Mahia from pushing for an opener. It could have come in the 28th minute when Meddie Kagere cut in from the left, passing the ball to Karim Nizigiyimana whose first touch, unfortunately, sent the ball out for a goal kick.

It was a costly miss for the fifteen times Kenyan Premier League champions, as it proved to be in the 35th minute. Ademola Lookman left Nizigiyimana for dead before passing the ball to Rooney, and the former Red Devil unleashed his trade mark shot past custodian Boniface Oluoch to give the Toffees a lead, against the run of play.

Wayne Rooney challenge Godfrey Walusimbi (L) Kenneth Muguna and Ernest Wendoo

The lead lasted for only two minutes; Gor Mahia won a corner which was converted by 2016 KPL Most Valuable Player Muguna to Jacques Tuyisenge, who nodded the ball past Maarten Stekenlenburg to level the scores. Both sides made changes after the break, bringing in several players to stake their claim in the match.

It was Everton's Tom Davies whose impact was felt almost immediately. In the 49th minute, the youngster did well to go past his marker, but he the all was put out for corner, though replays showed it could have been a penalty. Everton continued pushing for a winner, with Gor Mahia looking lost especially in defense.

In the 64th minute, poor officiating denied the nine times English champions a goal. Michael Keane was wrongly adjudged to be in an offside position when receiving a well weighted pass from Davies, meaning Calvert Lewin strike could not stand.

Nevertheless, the Everton side continued pressurizing Gor Mahia with substitute goalkeeper Peter Odhiambo making two stunning saves that put his side in the game. With ten minutes to go, Everton won a free-kick in a promising position, it was played to Kieran Dowell whose effort came off the cross bar.

A minute later, he made it right with a good strike from 30 yards out. Tom Davies passed the ball to Dowell, and the youngster made a good turn before unleashing a left footed shot that flew all the way to the back of the net.

Not even the six added minutes could save Gor Mahia from the jaws of Everton; but new coach Dylan Kerr can walk home a proud man considering it was his first match, since taking charge. 

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Everton starting XI: Stekelenburg (GK), Kenny, Williams, Jagielka, Connolly, Schneiderlin, Lennon, Lookman, Mccathy, Klaassen and Wayne Rooney.

Gor Mahia XI (first half): Boniface Oluoch, Godfrey Walusimbi, Musa Mohammed, Haron Shakava, Karim Niziyimana, Ernest Wendo, Kenneth Muguna, George Odhiambo, Meddie Kagere, Jacques Tuyisenge, Boniface Omondi.

2nd half: Peter Odhiambo, Innocent Wafula, Mike Simiyu, Wellington Ochieng, Joachim Oluoch, Philemon Otieno, Francis Kahata, Jean Baptiste, Oliver Maloba, Jeconia Uyoga, Timothy Otieno.

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