Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Romelu Lukaku inspires Everton to emphatic victory

Reuters, LONDON

Southampton striker Shane Long, left, and Everton defender John Stones vie for the ball during their game at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, England, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Two excellent first-half goals by Romelu Lukaku inspired Everton to an emphatic 3-0 victory at Southampton in the Premier League yesterday.

Everton started the game on the front foot and Lukaku, a £28 million (US$43.8 million) signing from Chelsea last year, was brought down right on the edge of the area by Matt Targett.

Ross Barkley’s free-kick deflected wide off the wall and moments later Kone saw a shot diverted wide.

Lukaku put the visitors ahead midway through the first half after a classic counterattack ended with the former Chelsea striker heading home a cross from Arouna Kone.

His second, just before halftime, was even better as he barreled forward, exchanged passes with Barkley and advanced to fire a shot low into the corner.

Southampton introduced new signing Oriol Romeu after the break for Dusan Tadic, but the home side were unable to apply any sustained pressure.

A classy curling finish from Barkley after 83 minutes sealed Everton’s win.

Shortly before that, Sadio Mane drew a fine save from Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard with a dipping shot and the home fans cheered loudly when forward Jay Rodriguez came on as a substitute after 16 months out, but it was a desperately disappointing display from Ronald Koeman’s side.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was able to take his place on the bench again following an Achilles operation, although he spent the 90 minutes in his seat.

Lukaku departed to a standing ovation from the away fans, having been applauded by the home fans prior to kick-off when he went into the stands to apologize for hitting a Southampton supporter with the ball during the warm-up.

Both sides made one change to their teams after 2-2 draws on the opening day — Everton’s at home to Watford, Southampton’s against Newcastle United.

Everton brought in Kone for Kevin Mirallas and Southampton replaced Jay Rodriguez with Shane Long.

The home players had worn “Thank you Markus” T-shirts during the warm-up in tribute to their former owner Markus Liebherr, who passed away five years ago.

Manchester United top the early table with six points — two points above Everton — after their 1-0 win against Aston Villa on Friday.

Champions Chelsea are to play Manchester City today.

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