10-man Everton forced to settle for opening-day draw

By Michael Kenrick 11/08/2018 0comments  |  Jump to last

Richarlison provided full value as the exciting Brazilian marked his debut with both goals in a tight first game
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 2 Everton

Everton's 2018-19 Premier League campaign began with a hard-fought draw in front of the BT cameras in the late-afternoon kick-off at Molineux against newly-promoted Wolves. Richarlison got a brace but Jagielka was harshly dismissed for winning the ball fairly in a lunging tackle.

Only new signing Richarlison made his competitive debut for Everton but none of the Deadline Day acquisitions were even on the bench, as Silva had foretold.

Jason Pickford returned to keep goal for the first time since his heroics for England at the World Cup in Russia, with Stekelenburg on the bench.

Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes and Bernard missed out completely while Digne was named on the bench, with Beni Baningime out injured, but Holgate was declared fit enough to sit on the bench despite his recent injury problems.

Everton kicked off amidst a vibrant and fiery atmosphere, winning an early corner that was defended away. There was then some good pressure from the home side, Neves putting a deep cross onto the roof of the Everton net as something of an ominous warning. Keane was forced into an erratic clearance at the back and Costa won Wolves their first corner, cleared.

Sigurdsson did well to win a corner that was delivered straight to Patricio. Wolves were trying forward balls but overhitting them as the teams felt each other out. Some nice work down the left was spoilt when Baines ventured offside.

Coleman was gifted a chance to shoot but scuffed it straight at Patricio. An utterly stupid late dive in by Richarlison after he felt he was denied a free-kick earned the stupidest of yellow cards for the Brazilian after just 14 minutes.

But he would make immediate amends for his rash stupidity, after getting a free-kick and finishing adroitly from close range off a fine ball delivered in by Baines to give Everton a very important early lead.

Wolves maintained their possession and pressing game in an effort to get back at Everton but the Blues defence was looking reasonably well organized and set up a decent wall to frustrate the home side until disaster struck shortly before the break.

Jagielka turned into the high press with a poor touch a few yards outside his area and was forced into a lunging tackle that brought Diogo Jota down and referee Craig Pawson immediately brandished a red card.

Forced into reshuffling his back line, Silva swapped Sigurdsson for Holgate but Everton's lead was wiped out when Ruben Neves swept the ball home off Pickford's fingertips from the resulting free kick.

The game took a while to warm back up in the second half, with the two sides feeling each other out following the change in the numerical match-up but chances at both ends opened up just before the hour mark.

First, Tosun elected to go it alone with a shot when Walcott was arguably better placed and Patricio palmed his effort behind. Then at the other end, Jimenez was played in behind the Blues' back line but Pickford made an excellent blocking save.

Great work by Gueye, followed by a pass out to Coleman, allowed the Irishman to send a cross to the back post that Richarlison helped back to Walcott but he couldn't readjust in time to get a shot on goal.

Everton stuck at it, however, and when Tosun cleberly flicked the ball to Richarlison in space just inside the box, the Brazilian strode forward and bent a shot past the 'keeper and inside the far post to restore Everton's lead.

Everton's 10 men couldn't withstand Wolves' pressure as they pushed for an equaliser, though, and after a succession of crosses was repelled by the Blues' defence, Neves took advantage of space on the home side's left and his curled cross was nodded home at the back stick by Jimenez.

Silva responded by withdrawing Tosun in favour of Oumar Niasse for the closing stages and when the Senegalese striker romped forward in a two-on-one break, ready to receive the return pass from Coleman, the fullback squandered a gilt-edged chance to win the game by making a horrible mess of the centre.

Richarlison's hopes of grabbing a winner were ended by injury with five minutes left and he was replaced by debutant Lucas Digne.

Scorers: Neves (44'), Jimenez (80'); Richarlison (17', 67')

Wolves (3-4-3): Rui Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho (85' Gibbs-White), Neves, Jonny (76' Vinagre); Jota, Jimenez, Costa (71' Bonatini).
Subs not Used: Ruddy, Hause, Saiss, Enobakhare.

Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Jagielka [R:40'], Keane, Baines; Schneiderlin, Gueye; Walcott, Sigurdsson (43' Holgate), Richarlison [Y:14'] (86'Digne); Tosun (81' Niasse).
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Davies, Sandro, Calvert-Lewin.

Referee: Craig Pawson

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