Everton 1-0 Stoke: Wayne Rooney Scores The Only Goal Of The Game
Wayne Rooney says it was a “special moment” to score the winning goal on his top-flight return to Everton after 13 years and one he has been looking forward to for a long time.
It was a fairy-tale return to his boyhood club as Rooney headed home the winning goal in the added minute of injury time in the first half, and sealed the three points for the hosts.
Rooney said a lot of “relief and emotion” came out as he celebrated what proved to be the decider before half-time.
“On a personal note, I’m absolutely delighted to score the winning goal at Goodison Park,” he told BBC Sport.
“It was a special moment for me. There was a lot of relief and a lot of emotion. It was an important goal just before half-time.
“I’ve felt at home since I first stepped in the training ground. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time.”
The Toffees had drawn their last four opening day matches but managed to hold out for the victory against a Stoke side who had very few clear-cut chances, with Xherdan Shaqiri almost snatching a draw late on, only to be denied by a superb Jordan Pickford save.
Rooney found space in the area to head a Dominic Calvert-Lewin cross past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland in what was the Toffees’ best move of the match – one the former England captain was twice involved in before adding the finishing touch.
Stoke started the second half well and could have had an equalising goal five minutes after the break, but Erik Pieters’ fine cross flashed past four Stoke players in the box before Kurt Zouma produced a fantastic tackle to deny Clavert-Lewin a one-on-one with the goalkeeper at the other end.
Everton are next in action against Hajduk Split on Thursday in a Europa League qualifier at Goodison Park before they make the trip to Man City on Monday Night Football for their second Premier League match on August 21.
Stoke have a week to prepare for their next match as they welcome Arsenal to the bet365 Stadium on Saturday evening.