Everton beat Hajduk Split to take two-goal lead into second leg

Everton have beaten Hajduk Split 2-0 in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier.

Goals from Michael Keane and Idrissa Gueye in the first half ensured the Toffees will take a lead into next week’s second leg.

Everton started brightly and could have opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Ademola Lookman cut in from the right before his shot was deflected over the crossbar. From the corner, Wayne Rooney headed over.

Hajduk’s first chance came in the 11th minute when Nikola Vlasic shot wide.

Keane scored his first Everton goal on the half-hour mark. Leighton Baines cross from the left went over the head of goalkeeper Dante Stipica and Keane was on hand at the far post to head in.

The match was then paused for five minutes after Hajduk fans began throwing objects onto the pitch.

That was quickly under control though and Rooney thought he had doubled Everton’s lead in the 40th minute. He was a yard offside after being sent through on goal by Davy Klaasen.

The second goal came just before half time when Rooney played in Gueye whose left-footed shot bounced off the post before going in.

It could have been three before half time when Rooney was again put through on goal by Klaasen but his shot was saved by Stipica.

Everton’s dominance continued into the start of the second half. Rooney could have scored from Cuco Martina’s cross before Lookman failed to get on the end of a Baines cross.

Franck Ohandza nearly pulled a goal back for Hajduk but Jordan Pickford made a good save.

Hamza Barry then had a chance from long range after beating two defenders but his shot went wide.

Hajduk could have pulled a goal back in the final 10 minutes but Pickford made saves from Vlasic and Hysen Memolla to keep his clean sheet secure.

Cover Photo: Everton Goodison Park by Fabio Paoleri used under license by CC BY-SA 2.0.

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