Report: Coleman On Target As Blues See Off Monaco

Everton rounded off their eight-day stay in Switzerland with an impressive 1-0 win over Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco.

Seamus Coleman’s brave second-half header decided another keenly-contested pre-season friendly, which was a fitting way to end the Blues’ week of hard work in the Alps.

Lucas Digne, Oumar Niasse, Theo Walcott and Tom Davies all had opportunities to make the margin of victory even more conclusive in what was a dominant and eye-catching performance against their French opponents.

Maarten Stekelenburg played his part in the win, too, denying Rony Lopes with penalty save before half-time.

At the midpoint in pre-season, following three friendlies, Marco Silva will be pleased with his squad’s preparation, as the Blues return to England from their training camp on the back of two successive clean sheets.

Silva handed Lucas Digne, Bernard, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Coleman their first starts of pre-season, while Lewis Gibson and Nathan Broadhead - impressive performers in the two previous friendlies - also played from the outset.

Welsh winger Broadhead was this time playing down the right-flank and he forced an early save from Diego Benaglio, following an inch perfect 50-yard diagonal pass from Andre Gomes.

The Monaco keeper was also alert to punch clear a flicked header from Michael Keane, as the Blues began intently with some good early movement.

Cesc Fabregas was the standout name in a Monaco side which included experienced Polish defender Kamil Glik and former Tottenham winger Nacer Chadli.


The French team also boasted attacker Gelson Martins, a 21-cap Portuguese international. It was his quick feet which earned Monaco their penalty midway through the first half, drawing a foul from Blues centre-back Gibson.

Stekelenburg saved well from 12 yards, diving to his left to push out Lopes’ spot-kick, before springing to his feet quickly to clutch hold of Adama Traore’s follow-up.

It was a faultless first-half performance from the Dutch keeper who then produced another top intervention moments later, this time beating away a fiercely-struck drive by Fabregas.

There was an evident step up in the pace of this match compared to the Blues’ two previous friendlies against Kariobangi Sharks and Sion.

Everton worked hard, passing the ball crisply, both long and short, on another hot summer Alpine evening.

It was from an intricate team move involving Broadhead, Bernard and Schneiderlin that Coleman fired narrowly wide five minutes before half-time, the closest Everton came to scoring in a first half that was full of intensity from both sides.

Unlike the previous friendlies, there were only two half-time substitutions by Toffees boss Silva - Theo Walcott and Tom Davies replaced Broadhead and Schneiderlin.

Russian playmaker Aleksandr Golovin, a star at last summer’s World Cup, came on in Monaco’s midfield.

Even at this early stage of pre-season, a notable trait in Everton’s play was the threat Keane was posing from set-pieces.

After the restart, twice in quick succession, the England centre-back caused havoc in the Monaco penalty area, firstly forcing an agile save from Benaglio with a downward header, before then winning a knock-down which Davies volleyed fractionally wide.

Niasse the hit the post with an inventive flick, before glancing a header wide as the Blues upped the ante.

Digne, too, was inches away with a volley which was dispatched with immaculate technique.

Everton’s perseverance finally paid off 18 minutes before the end through Coleman’s courageous header.

Niasse’s shot looped up off a Monaco defender and the Ireland captain was in the right place to nudge the ball over the line.

In the closing stages, a last-ditch block from Fode Toure stopped Walcott from netting, while Davies lashed an effort against the crossbar.

Ninety-minute outings for defensive trio Coleman, Keane and Digne was another positive to take from this entertaining contest.

Further friendlies against Wigan Athletic, Mainz, Sevilla and Werder Bremen follow before Everton launch their Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in three weeks’ time.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Keane, Gibson, Broadhead (Walcott 46), Sigurdsson (McCarthy 78), Digne, Schneiderlin (Davies 46), Niasse, Bernard (Mirallas 78), Gomes (Adeniran 83), Coleman. (Subs not used: Pickford, Holgate, Baines, Pennington, Delph, Hornby, Connolly, Williams, Davies, Baningime, Lookman, Astley)