Everton U18s 0-2 Santos U19s
Blues crash to defeat in opening group match.
A goal in each half condemned Everton to defeat as they kicked off their Durban Under-19 International Tournament campaign against Santos.
The Blues competed well with their South American opposition but were regularly frustrated by the Brazilians’ ability to keep the ball, thus denying Sheedy’s side the chance to impose their own possession-based game.
Santos were quick out of the blocks and had the ball in the net inside the first two minutes, only to have it ruled offside.
That should have sounded a warning for Everton but the South Americans continued to enjoy the better chances. Mateusz Hewelt was kept busy throughout the first half, saving well from Caio Silva, Joao Gomes and Matheus Silva.
In a rare foray forward, right back Arlen Birch shot straight at keeper John Furtado.
But Santos’s pressure soon told and Matheus Silva skipped past a couple of defenders and fired past Hewelt with four minutes of the first half remaining.
Sheedy’s side reacted to going behind after the break and Calum Dyson nodded a tough chance narrowly over the bar, before Delial Brewster seized on a loose pass and tried to guide the ball past the onrushing keeper, only to see it trickle wide.
Just a minute after Brewster’s chance, Santos doubled their lead. Leonardo Assis crossed low and James Graham unfortunately guided the ball past Hewelt.
With the game won, Santos reverted to keep ball, frustrating the Blues, although substitute George Newell fizzed a shot inches past the post late on.
The result leaves Everton needing to bounce back when they face Feyenoord on Sunday but midfielder Kieran Dowell believes the players can be proud of the performance, even if the result wasn’t ideal.
He said after the game: “Santos were a good side and much older, bigger and stronger than us. It showed out on the pitch.
“We both had spells where we controlled the game, but they managed to take their chances when they were on top. They kept the ball for longer as well so it was tough.
“There’s been a few lessons that we’ve learnt. It’s up to us to take them into the next game. We are usually the ones dominating possession so at times it was frustrating. But it’s good to be on the other side of it and learn from that and push yourself to get better.
“These are performances we can be proud of but obviously we were all gutted about the result. But we will get our heads up and look forward to Sunday against Feyenoord.
“The result means there is a little bit more pressure on us but that’s nice to have. We have to win if we want to progress into next week.”