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Venue: Stadium, City
 Saturday 11 August 2012; 7:30pm
1 0
Welington (74')
 Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 6,000
Friendly X
Referee: Pedro Perez Montero

Match Summary

Everton's preseason schedule drew to a close with a trip to Andalusia to take on Mlaga. The game included a Trophy that both sides were playing for, the magnificent Tropheo Internationl Costa Del Sol.

Fellaini was missing, out injured with a slight knock, but Phil Jagielka returned to the side, which was a pretty much full-strength one considering the players David Moyes had available.

Not too much to report in a fairly mild first half, played in the sweltering Mediterranean heat. Mlaga were playing some neat football but not getting much penetration in the same can be said of Everton. Tim Howard had been the busier of the two goalkeepers. Jelavic did have a good drive from a free kick.

Despite the conditions, David Moyes did not ring the changes at half time; only Sylvain Distin came on for John Heitinga. But Everton where slow to start in the second half with some sloppy football, although no real danger from any Mlaga attacks.

A couple of better opportunities for both sides saw offside decisions go against each team. Everton finally started to play a little bit Jelavic scoring a nice goal although he was clearly offside. Anichebe then replaced Seamus Coleman, and the big Nigerian was strangely booked inside two minutes.

Some better football from Everton saw Leon Osman get into the penalty area but his shot was pretty lame. At the other end, simple defending for free kick saw a free header of the delivery and pretty easily Everton went behind to a goal by Welington. Francisco Junior replaced Phil Neville, then Magaye Gueye replaced Steven Naismith... followed by Ross Barkley for Nikica Jelavic. Barkley should have scored off a great Baines cross that he headed over, but he was offside anyway.

All things considered, this was a good pre-season final for Everton, and should set them up nicely for the massive challenge on August 20 when Manchester United come to town.

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

It was party time in Malaga – but not for Everton.

As the annual Feria De Agosto lit up the Andalucian town on Saturday night the Blues ended their pre-season preparations on a more subdued note, even if this work-out was more productive than the result suggests.

They might have missed out on claiming the bizarrely huge Costa del Sol trophy by losing a hotly-contested friendly with the Spaniards, but Everton at least displayed enough to suggest they could prosper on the continent again one day.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side finished fourth in La Liga last season and are only a qualifying round from making the Champions League, so even though they hover on the brink of financial meltdown thanks to their Qatari owner’s unrest, they were formidable opponents.

In the close, balmy heat of a night at La Rosaled, a Everton were shown the finer points of how to retain possession, but were far from just admiring also-rans in the face of the hosts’ slick passing game.

The home side certainly hogged the early possession but Everton were well organised and effective defensively, forcing them out wide and clearing the resulting crosses comfortably.

Everton also worked the ball nicely in midfield, Steven Naismith’s quick feet drawing a foul from Enzo Maresca and allowing Nikica Jelavic to suggest there is more in his locker than clinical close range finishes by thundering a right-footed free kick narrowly over the bar from 25 yards.

And just moments later the Croatian, who failed to score in pre-season, swapped passes with Steven Pienaar and bore down on goal only to be adjudged as offside as he tested the host’s goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

Undeterred Everton strung together another promising move involving a marauding Leighton Baines and Leon Osman but Naismith slipped in the area as he was about to shoot.

The game was nicely poised at half time, even if the hosts could claim to have enjoyed more of the ball but they stepped it up after the break as danger-man Joaquin again tested Howard.

But it was a pleasingly open affair with attacking nous from both sides, and on the counter attack Everton soon had the ball in the back of the net via Jelavic, even if the striker was given off-side again by the flag-happy assistant referee.

Then savvy link-up between Baines, Pienaar and Osman ended with the latter bringing a save out of Caballero, as the visitors began to show their own finesse.

So it would have infuriated Moyes when his side allowed Malaga to take the lead courtesy of slack marking. The Anchovies took a free kick from the right and as Everton’s back four switched off, skipper Weligton rose powerfully to head home.

Not good enough – and the sort of error Manchester United will punish a week today.

Ross Barkley replaced the tiring Jelavic and almost scored with his first touch, a looping header after he connected with Pienaar’s free kick.

For Barkley the coming season has just got even more interesting. Jack Rodwell’s £12m departure to Manchester City has presented him with a real opportunity to push for a place in Moyes’ starting line-up.

Skipper Phil Neville might have had to bashfully accept a runners-up trophy on the pitch afterwards, but there were enough signs to suggest Everton could have more to be proud about next term.

Much will depend on how Moyes is able to re-invest some of the money the club will receive for Rodwell, but even if Everton couldn’t get in the fiesta spirit in Malaga this time, his transfer acumen could yet pave the way for more balmy European nights.

Greg O'Keefe, Liverpool Echo


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MALAGA (4-4-2)
  Joaquin (Duda 81)
  Maresca (Camacho 76)
  Portillo (Buonanotte 60)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Heitinga (45' Distin)
  Jagielka (Y)
  Neville (73' Junior)
  Pienaar, (63' Anichebe) .
  Naismith (79' Gueye)
  Jelavic (81' Barkley)
  Subs not used


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