Winning European return for Everton

Everton kicked off their Europa League campaign on a positive note after securing a 1-0 win over Ruzomberok in the first leg of their third-round qualifying tie.

Toffees skipper Leighton Baines scored the only goal of the game in the second half, as Wayne Rooney made a winning return on his second debut at Goodison Park.

Ronald Koeman’s side didn’t have things all their own way, with the Slovakian club threatening on a few occasions and hitting the woodwork after the break.

Rooney failed to test Matus Macik on two occasions in the opening stages, while Davy Klaassen could only find the side-netting after playing a one-two with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Idrissa Gueye then fired straight at the visiting keeper from long range, before Erik Daniel forced Maarten Stekelenburg into a sharp save at the other end with a driven effort.

The final action of the first half saw Calvert-Lewin bring a save out of Macik, who counted himself lucky when Klaassen headed Cuco Martina’s cross wide after the restart.

The Ruza’s best chance arrived midway through the second half as Stekelenburg tipped Jan Maslo’s powerful header onto the crossbar, and the save proved vital as the hosts broke the deadlock moments later.

Norbert Hrncar’s men were their own worst enemies after failing to clear their lines from a set-piece. Baines flashed a shot past Macik from 20 yards out with the aid of a deflection off Daniel.

Macik kept his team alive with a late save to deny Kevin Mirallas, leaving the Merseysiders with a tricky trip to Slovakia in the second leg.

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