Richarlison Bags First Everton Goal

Richarlison marked his first Everton start with a wonderful goal in the Blues’ friendly game against French team Rennes.

The Brazilian attacker, who completed his move to Goodison Park on Tuesday, had been the source of much of his side’s brighter play when he glided forward in first-half stoppage time.

Perhaps emboldened by his adventurous burst minutes earlier – when Richarlison ran half the length of the pitch before drilling a shot narrowly wide – the 21-year-old advanced once more, this time progressing into a central area. He swapped passes with Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose assured touch lit up passages of the Blues’ play, before swiping a right-footed strike low into the bottom-left corner.

Richarlison elected to pass following a similar surge through the middle on 24 minutes, the forward finding Sandro Ramirez who dragged his cross-shot wide.

Everton were trailing by that stage, courtesy of an incisive Rennes attack and the clinical finishing of Benjamin Bourigeaud, the midfielder picking up where he left off last term when he scored 10 Ligue 1 goals – and laying the platform for his team’s 4-1 victory.

The excellent Clement Grenier bent a ball with the outside of his foot for James Lea Siliki, whose delivery to the back post was perfectly weighted for Bourigeaud. He didn’t need to break stride and easily dispatched a first-time strike low into the net. Maarten Stekenlenburg didn’t stand a chance.

Everton ‘keeper Stekelenburg had twice saved sharply in the game’s opening exchanges. The Dutchman reacted quickly to move to his left and keep out Benjamin Andre’s point-blank header following Hamari Traore’s cross from the right.

Stekelenburg was then out quickly to smother from Jordan Siebatcheu when the striker was sent in on goal by Grenier’s sumptuous through pass.

The Toffees, meanwhile, could justly feel miffed when Cenk Tosun had the ball in the net from Richarlison’s knock down, only for the creator to be harshly penalised for climbing on a defender as he met Seamus Coleman's delivery at the back post.

Bourigeaud’s 28th-minute strike invigorated an already sprightly Rennes, whose hard running and urgent passing intensified even further.

And on 36 minutes, the home side had a two-goal buffer to celebrate. The goal had a familiar ring to it. The barrel-chested Lea Siliki was the runner from midfield again, sprinting down the left to reach a beautifully measured pass from Mehdi Zeffane.

Lea Silki, opting against a first touch to control, fairly walloped the ball into the centre. Siebatchu’s contact was equally thunderous, the forward clobbering his finish high into the net.

Richarlison took charge of trying to drag his side back into the contest, the South American shooting over from another Coleman cross and ending a driving run with an effort narrowly wide, either side of a Tosun header which zipped past the far post after the Turk had nipped in front of his marker to meet Sigurdsson’s right-wing free-kick.

Coleman, possibly taking his cue from the marauding Richarlison, embarked on a barrelling run shortly after half-time. The right-back, opponents bouncing off him, drove into the 18-yard box, where the ball ricocheted back to him off a defender. Coleman instantly tried his luck with a snap-shot down which fizzed over the top.

Algeria international Zeffane sent over a cross that was too high for Bourigeaud, while Denis-Will Poha topped a shot into Stekelenburg’s gloves after being set up by fellow substitute Romain Del Castillo.

Blues manager Marco Silva made a triple change with quarter of an hour remaining, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Sandro and Tosun giving way to Tom Davies, Kevin Mirallas and Oumar Niasse.

But with Everton committing bodies forward in pursuit of an equaliser, Lea Siliki’s shrewd touch sent Faitout Mouassa away down the right.

He scampered into the box, nudging the ball with his left foot all the way, before using the same part of his body to finish precisely across Stekelenburg.

Lea Siliki then added a neat goal of his own to his trio of polished assists. A product of Paris St-Germain’s academy, the Frenchman’s direct run through the middle was found with a threaded pass. He strode on and thrashed the ball inside Stekelenburg’s left post.

Richarlison demonstrated tremendous improvisation to contort his body and execute a bicycle kick from Mirallas’ late cross, albeit the attacker’s strike travelled too high to concern Rennes goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. There are only so many of those that fly in during the course of a season. Had it gone in, then, it would have felt like a bit of a waste in a friendly game.

Everton: Stekelenburg; Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines; Schneiderlin, Gana (Davies, 75); Sandro (Mirallas, 75), Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Tosun (Niasse, 75).

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