English Premiership

Everton sink stuttering Stoke

2013-11-30 20:17
Gerard Deulofeu (AFP Photo)

Liverpool - Gerard Deulofeu enjoyed a memorable first Premier League start for Everton as the on-loan Barcelona teenager inspired a 4-0 rout of Stoke on Saturday.

Deulofeu is a graduate of Barca's La Masia academy and he showed enough potential at Goodison Park to suggest he could be the latest star to emerge from the Spanish club's production line.

The 19-year-old forward, who had already impressed in eight league substitute appearances for the Toffees, scored his second goal for Everton, and his first in the top-flight, with a first half strike that opened the floodgates for Roberto Martinez's team.

Seamus Coleman, Bryan Oviedo and on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku all netted in the second half as Everton climbed to fourth in the table ahead of Sunday's fixtures.

Deulofeu's potential, having scored 18 goals in 34 games for Barcelona B last season and with five first-team appearances under his belt, was never in question but his ability to adapt to English football was his manager's primary concern.

The first-half focus was almost entirely on the Barca prodigy, who fittingly produced the first and last action of the opening 45 minutes with plenty of contributions in between.

Having seen an early low free-kick parried by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Deulofeu's angled shot was also denied at the near post.

Begovic produced a brilliant double save to stop Leon Osman's deflected shot and Lukaku's close-range follow-up either side of another two angled efforts from Deulofeu, before Lukaku headed wide from Oviedo's cross.

Just as it appeared Everton's dominance would go unrewarded Deulofeu struck, cutting in from the left and getting the ball back via Osman and Gareth Barry to finally beat Begovic with just seconds in the half remaining.

Four minutes after the break right-back Coleman made it 2-0 when his mis-hit shot looped past Begovic.

Deulofeu was far from finished and he drew a fine save from Begovic, who then denied Lukaku on the rebound.

Oviedo added the third in the 58th minute as Everton pressed home their advantage.

The Costa Rican, deputising for the injured England left-back Leighton Baines, collected Deulofeu's short corner, switched the ball on to his weaker right foot and powered it home from distance.

Oviedo then turned provider with the cross for Lukaku to score his eighth league goal of the season from close range.

Lukaku was immediately replaced by Nikica Jelavic, who has scored just one league goal since December 9, and the Croatian's lack of confidence showed as with only Begovic to beat he bundled a shot straight at the goalkeeper in the 89th minute.

smg/gnf

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