KYLE SCHNITZER - Saturday, September 20, 2014
It was a solid win for Tim Howard and Everton, while Fabian Johnson and Borussia Mönchengladbach played to the draw in the first games of the group stage in the UEFA Europa League.
Everton 4 - 1 Wolfsburg
In their first European competition since 2010, Tim Howard and Everton defeated Wolfsburg 4-1, despite being dominated in all statistical categories at Goodison Park.
Everton scored early thanks to a little help from Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez. In the 15th minute, Steven Naismith shot was deflected by Wolfsburg's Diego Benaglio, but the low shot bounced off of Rodriguez's body, pushing the ball behind the line.
Right before halftime, Belgian international Kevin Mirallas took a shot from distance which looked like an easy save for Benaglio. However, the former Swiss goalkeeper's punch found Leighton Baines, who's cross-met the head of Seamus Coleman to make it 2-0.
Baines added a penalty goal in the 47th minute, while Mirallas added his own goal in the 89th minute.
Howard was tested the entire match, especially with Wolfsburg placing 12 shots on target compared to Everton's 2.
The lone goal Howard surrendered was in extra time, when Ricardo Rodriguez's beautiful set piece was placed in the upper near corner of the net. Howard didn't even bother to move, as the ball was delivered with pace and accuracy making it seemingly impossible to save.
Everton sit atop of Group H and will travel to Russia to take on Krasnodar on October 2.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 1 Villarreal
Fabian Johnson only played for 63 minutes, as Borussia Mönchengladbach tied Villarreal at home.
In the 20th minute, Granit Xhaka played a ball from the Gladbach half, rising it above the Villarreal defense to find Branimir Hrgota. Hrgota danced into some trouble, but a streaking Patrick Herrmann delivered a sure strike outside the box that was deflected by Villarreal's goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, however his initial save failed to divert the ball away from the net.
Gladbach held the lead until Nigerian international Ikechukwu Uche subbed in the 67th minute. A minute later, the super-sub Uche changed the game and scored to help Villarreal salvage a point away.
Borussia Mönchengladbach and Villarreal sit third in Group A's standings, after Apollon Limassol defeated Zurich 3-2. They will travel to Austria to face Zurich on October 2.
Brad Friedel did not appear on Tottenham's bench, as they tied 1-1 against Partizen.