English Premiership

Saints downed by Lukaku brace

2015-08-15 15:56
Romelu Lukaku (Getty Images)

London - Romelu Lukaku scored his first Premier League brace since November 2013 and Ross Barkley added a late third as Everton recorded a fine 3-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

Belgium striker Lukaku only managed 10 league goals last season, but he is up and running after two moments of class and an all-round display of brilliance won this match for the visitors before the break.

For his first goal, Lukaku headed in off the bar on 22 minutes even though the ball was slightly behind him from Arouna Kone's cross.

Then, seconds before the break, he started and finished a move, scoring with a left-foot finish from the edge of the area.

He departed to a standing ovation from the away fans, having been applauded by the home fans prior to kick-off when he went into the stand to apologise for hitting a Southampton supporter with the ball during the warm-up.

Both sides made one change to their teams after 2-2 draws on the opening day - Everton's at home to Watford, Southampton's at Newcastle United.

Everton brought in Kone for Kevin Mirallas and Southampton replaced Jay Rodriguez with Shane Long.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was able to take his place on the bench again following an Achilles operation, although he spent the 90 minutes in his seat.

The home players had worn 'Thank you Markus' T-shirts during the warm-up in tribute to their former owner Markus Liebherr, who passed away five years ago.

Everton started the game on the front foot and Lukaku, who was signed from Chelsea last year, was brought down right on the edge of the area by Matt Targett.

Barkley's free-kick deflected wide off the wall and moments later Kone saw a shot diverted wide.

The Merseysiders' start was a sign of things to come, but it was Southampton who probably should have opened the scoring. Saido Mane ran through on goal but his shot was saved by Tim Howard.

Within seconds, Everton had gone down to the other end of the pitch to score, with Lukaku converting Kone's right-wing cross for his first goal of the season.

Roberto Martinez's side should have had a second shortly afterwards, with new signing Tom Cleverley completely missing the target on the rebound after Barkley's shot from Lukaku's pass was parried by Maarten Stekelenburg.

Southampton pressed for an equaliser, with Graziano Pelle attempting to flick home Dusan Tadic's cross, but Howard was able to gather comfortably.

Lukaku, though, was proving to be a real handful for the Saints defenders and he all but finished the game before the half-time whistle.

The 22-year-old won the ball off Maya Yoshida and played Barkley in before receiving the ball back. Lukaku's cool, low finish, following a powerful, driving run, gave Stekelenburg little chance.

Former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu came on at the break for his Southampton debut in place of Tadic but he was unable to change the outcome of the match as Everton happily protected their lead in the second half.

Martinez's men played the counter-attacking game effectively, although Pelle did go close from a Steven Davis corner.

Rodriguez replaced a quiet Long and immediately put himself about up front, while a 30-yard strike from Mane was pushed away by Howard.

Victor Wanyama also struck over from distance but Southampton never put the Everton defence under any sustained pressure.

It was left to England midfielder Barkley to complete the scoring. He added a third six minutes from time with a composed finish after Lukaku's strength and Seamus Coleman's pass had set up the chance.

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