Wayne Rooney

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Everton 2-0 Hajduk Split: Toffees cruise in Europa League first leg

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  • Keane nabs first EFC goal
  • Baines, Rooney with classy assists
  • Gueye scores rare goal
  • Second leg Aug. 24 in Croatia

Michael Keane and Idrissa Gana Gueye scored as Everton took a 2-0 lead over HNK Hajduk Split in a UEFA Europa League playoff round first leg at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney had assists for the Toffees, while Jordan Pickford, Ademola Lookman, and Davy Klaassen also posted lively performances for the hosts ahead of next week’s second leg.

The Toffees could’ve scored four or five if not for questionable offside calls alone, and the match was interrupted in the first half when the Hajduk support section got out of hand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ademola Lookman won an early corner for Everton that led to nothing, and played a terrific ball into the center of the box that Davy Klaassen just missed with a sliding effort.

Hajduk had a moment in two in transition, but the Toffees handled it well. Baines in particular broke up the earliest sign of danger.

The breakthrough goal was splendid, with Baines scooping up a punched corner kick and darting past a defender to dink an aesthetically-pleasing ball into traffic for Keane to head home. 1-0, 30′.

The match was stalled for 5-10 minutes after riotous behavior from visiting Hajduk Split supporters, who tossed bottles onto the field and charged at the stewards (one appeared to punch a security guard).

The Toffees went up 2-0 off a classy assist from Rooney, who was moving away from the defense when he cut a ball to a darting Gueye. The Senegalese engine provided a rare goal in the 45th minute.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

The chances were at a premium for both sides in the second half, with Everton still having the better of play. But Jordan Pickford had to get horizontal to make an outstanding two-handed parry on a Hajduk rush in the 61st minute.

Hajduk really found its game late as Everton seemed to rest on its laurels. Pickford was livid, and called into duty to make some big stops and preserve an important home clean sheet.

Rooney on Everton winner: “It doesn’t get much better”

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Wayne Rooney‘s had a few matches back in Everton blue, but his Premier League return to Goodison Park was circled on his calendar.

It finished 1-0. Guess who scored.

[ RECAP/VIDEO: Everton 1-0 Stoke ]

Netting the match-winner was a dreamlike moment for Rooney. Even a man with 199 Premier League goals is going to notice the combination of returning home, Opening Day, and a go-ahead goal.

And with a murderous run of fixtures ahead, the longtime Manchester United and England captain knows how much this can mean to the Toffees. From the BBC:

“On a personal level scoring the winning goal at Goodison Park is a special moment. It doesn’t get much better. To play for this club is a huge deal for me.”

“We’ve got some tough games coming up so it’s important we got off to a good start.”

Everton hosts Hajduk Split in the first leg of a Europa League playoff tie on Thursday, and then faces Man City, Chelsea, and Manchester United away, with a visit from Spurs for good measure.

Yep, these three points and that moment for Rooney may be invaluable for the season’s momentum.

Everton 1-0 Stoke City: Rooney plays the hero

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  • Rooney returns, scores (VIDEO)
  • Pickford makes late save
  • Stoke one shot on frame

Stoke City’s lively second half wasn’t enough to offset Wayne Rooney‘s first half stoppage time goal, and Everton edged the Potters 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Challenges await both clubs, as Stoke visits Arsenal next week while Everton visits Manchester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mark Hughes had his men ready for the road, and Stoke had the better of play in the opening half of the season

Idrissa Gana Gueye did have a smart chance from outside the 18 in the 24th minute, but the defensive-minded midfielder’s attempt looked a bit like a defensive-minded midfielder’s attempt.

And then, Rooney. The longtime England and Manchester United captain returned home with much fanfare this summer — making the start of this sentence super necessary — and was on the scene to nod over Jack Butland and put the Toffees up just before the break.

Fellow ex-Red Devils leader Darren Fletcher pulled a 22-yard strike wide of the near post in the 58th minute as the Potters pushed for an equalizer.

It looked set to be 2-0 when Dominic Calvert-Lewin pick-pocketed Stoke 30 yards from goal, but the youngster shot instead of cutting the ball back and Butland forced a corner.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

VIDEO: Wayne Rooney, of course, scores on Everton return

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He’d played several exhibitions and even a pair of UEFA Europa League games, but there’s no doubt Wayne Rooney was targeting Saturday’s Premier League opener at Goodison Park as a place to make an Everton impact again.

[ MORE: Watch PL match replays ]

Outplayed by Stoke for most of the first half, the home crowd forgot it all deep into the period when Rooney rose high to nod a ball over Jack Butland and give the Toffees an emotional 1-0 lead.

According to Opta, Rooney set a record for longest span between goals for a single club at 4,968 days. It’s his 199th Premier League goal.

VIDEO: Wayne Rooney scores stunner in second Everton debut

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Look familiar? He’s done this a few times for Everton before…

Wayne Rooney is back on the bike for the Toffees and it took him just 34 minutes to score a stunner on his second Everton debut.

[ MORE: Rooney ready to lead Everton? ]

The 31-year-old, who signed from Manchester United on Sunday to return to his boyhood club 13 years after leaving Goodison Park for Old Trafford, scored a stunner from long-range in Everton’s friendly against Kenyan side Gor Mahia in Tanzania on Thursday.

Take a look at the video below to see Rooney bend in the beauty, his first goal back in a Toffees shirt, to put Everton 1-0 up. They eventually won the friendly 2-1 with Kieran Dowell scoring another screamer to win the game.

It’s only preseason, but goals like this will do his confidence no harm at all as the all-time leading goalscorer for Manchester United and England looks to finish his career on a high with the team he loves.