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EL
Europa League Qualifying | Third Qualifying Round
Jul 27, 2017 at 8.05pm UK
 

1-0

Baines (65')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Everton struggle to Europa League win over MFK Ruzomberok

:Headline: Result: Everton struggle to Europa League win over MFK Ruzomberok: ID:303599: from db_amp
A second-half goal from Leighton Baines earns Everton a 1-0 win over MFK Ruzomberok in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.

Everton have registered a 1-0 win over MFK Ruzomberok in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.

Ronald Koeman's side lacked a cutting edge against their Slovakian opponents, but Leighton Baines's long-range deflected effort proved enough to give his team the advantage ahead of the reverse fixture.

Everton controlled the early stages of the match without producing much quality in the final third, and it took until the ninth minute for a shot to be struck on goal with Idrissa Gueye firing high and wide from 25 yards.

The home supporters were desperate to see Wayne Rooney get on the ball on his second competitive debut for his hometown club but he was restricted during the opening 20 minutes, with only a snapshot on his left foot coming anywhere near to threatening a goal.

Slowly but surely, Ruzomberok were coming more and more into the game but they, too, were limited to speculative efforts, with Dalibor Takac failing to make the most of some time and space from 25 yards.

That brought a response from Everton, with Rooney miscuing a shot from inside the penalty area and fellow debutant Davy Klaassen firing into the side-netting from a similar position.

Gueye hit a long-range effort straight at the goalkeeper before at the other end, Erik Daniel forced a decent save out of Maarten Stekelenburg from outside of the penalty area.

Just before the break, Dominic Calvert-Lewin - who was arguably Everton's best player during the first 45 minutes - got a shot away from 20 yards but it did not trouble the goalkeeper.

When the teams returned for the second half, it was the visitors who were arguably the better side but Klaassen soon started to pull the strings for the Premier League outfit before he sent a header wide of the post from by the penalty spot.

However, Ruzomberok should have taken the lead just before the hour mark through Jan Maslo, but his free header was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Stekelenburg.

With 25 minutes left, though, Everton made the breakthrough when the ball fell invitingly for Baines around 30 yards from goal and his first-time strike was deflected into the net by Daniel.

Soon after the opener, Kevin Mirallas must have thought he was about to double his side's advantage when he made an opening for himself inside the penalty area, but he was superbly denied by a stunning stop from Matus Macik.

While the home side remained keen on a second, Ruzomberok were not content with sitting on a one-goal deficit ahead of the second leg and they continued to throw men forward in search of a crucial away goal.

In the 85th minute, Milos Lacny was presented with a chance inside the penalty area but his volley was weak and directed straight at a grateful Stekelenburg.

That proved to be the final opportunity, though, and while Everton would have preferred a wider lead ahead of the second leg, they will be delighted to have kept a clean sheet in front of their own supporters.

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