Silva: Competitive Clash An Ideal Platform For Toffees

Marco Silva believes the highly-competitive nature of Everton’s historic game against Kariobangi Sharks offers an ideal platform for his side to build on during pre-season.

Everton, who became the first Premier League team to play in Kenya, drew 1-1 with the Sharks before being edged out on in a penalty shootout by the African side.

A crowd of 64,829 passionate supporters filled the Kasarani Stadium - and they saw Kariobangi take a first-half lead through Duke Abuya.

Joe Williams’ smart free-kick levelled the scores seven minutes after the break and, with neither side able to find a winner inside normal time, the game went straight to penalties.

Nathan Broadhead, Josh Bowler and Fraser Hornby all made no mistake from the spot, but Kariobangi stopper Brian Bwire was to prove the hero. He saved from Williams and Dennis Adeniran, before rifling in the winning kick.

A total of 22 travelling Everton players got minutes under their belts, with Theo Walcott, Morgan Schneiderlin, Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Leighton Baines among those who completed the first 45 minutes. Ademola Lookman was taken off early in the first half after suffering a twisted ankle, but the injury is not thought to be serious.

Everton boss Silva believes the keenly-contested clash will boost his players’ fitness levels and sharpness. He also praised the Kenyan fans for the electric atmosphere created inside the stadium.

“The most important thing for us was that it was a competitive game,” said Silva.

“It was a first pre-season match for us, and it was good environment to play in.

“We tried to give 45 minutes to all of our players. Unfortunately for us, Ademola had an injury in the first half. It was the only bad thing of the match.

"The game was everything we expected. It was the first time they played against a Premier League team, and they played a good game.

“The atmosphere was very good.

"It [the atmosphere] gave the opposition high motivation to play, which was good for us, too.

“Coming here and creating a strong relationship with the African supporters is very important for our club.

“We enjoyed it a lot.”