Thursday 17 Aug

Everton vs Hajduk Split - Match preview

16 Aug 2017 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Qualification
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Qualification

Everton FC

  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

vs

Kick-off
19:05 GMT
17 August 2017

HNK Hajduk Split

  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Kick-off
19:05 GMT 17 August 2017

European football returns to Goodison Park after its absence in the last few years but they still need to ensure they qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage. They must beat Croatian side, Hajduk Split over two legs to progress and the first leg will be played in Merseyside this Thursday with the second leg in Croatia next week. The Toffees finished 7th in the Premier League last term while Hajduk finished 3rd in the 1. HNL table.

STATS

  • Everton are yet to lose a competitive fixture so far this season with three wins from three. Two of them came in the third round of qualifying for the Europa League where they won 2-0 on aggregate against Ruzomberok of Slovakia. They also started the Premier League season with a 1-0 win over Stoke. The only goal of the game came courtesy of a certain Wayne Rooney as he made his perfect return to Everton.
  • Hajduk Split are well underway with their league season as they have already played five games and currently sit second in the table. They have won three, drawn one and lost one of those games. They have come through two rounds of qualifying so far to get to this stage and have knocked out Levski Sofia and Brondby, without losing a game in the process.
  • After Romelu Lukaku left the Toffees for Manchester United, they signed Wayne Rooney and he is already off the mark for his old side. Sandro Ramirez from Malaga will also provide a threat in front of goal.
  • Zoran Nizic, Frank Ohandza and Nikola Vlasic have all managed two goals for Hajduk in the league so far this season and Everton will need to watch for all three of them.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have never met in European competition so the two-legged affair will be the first time they have ever locked horns. Everton aren’t used to playing regular continental football whereas Hajduk qualify for either the Europa League or Champions League nearly every season.

EVERTON NEWS

It is vital that Everton use their home advantage in the first leg to take a lead to Croatia for the second leg. They can’t let the occasion get the better of them but the addition of an experienced European footballer in Wayne Rooney will help to relax the more inexperienced members of the squad. One of the more experienced players, Seamus Coleman, will miss the match with James McCarthy. Other than that, the squad is fit and healthy.

Latest matches: Everton FC

12.08.2017 Prem Everton FC Stoke City 1:0 W
06.08.2017 Club Everton FC Sevilla FC 2:2 D
03.08.2017 UEFA MFK Ruzomberok Everton FC 0:1 W
27.07.2017 UEFA Everton FC MFK Ruzomberok 1:0 W
22.07.2017 Club KRC Genk Everton FC 1:1 D

HAJDUK SPLIT NEWS

Avoiding defeat will be the main priority for Hajduk Split in the first leg in order to make sure it’s still all to play for at their place. Former Leicester City and Portsmouth striker, Marko Futacs, is the only injury they need to worry about so they should take confidence from an available squad full of players with experience of European qualifiers.

Latest matches: HNK Hajduk Split

11.08.2017 1. H HNK Hajduk Split NK Slaven Belupo 1:0 W
06.08.2017 1. H NK Dinamo Zagreb HNK Hajduk Split 3:1 L
03.08.2017 UEFA HNK Hajduk Split Brondby IF 2:0 W
30.07.2017 1. H HNK Cibalia-Vinkovci HNK Hajduk Split 1:2 W
27.07.2017 UEFA Brondby IF HNK Hajduk Split 0:0 D

SUMMARY

If Everton fail to make the group stage from this qualifier, it will go down as very disappointing so there is no doubt that they are the favourites to progress into the next round. The Toffees should be able to take a comfortable lead into the second leg with the players at their disposal. It will be an uphill battle for the visitors and they could be in a position where they can’t pull it back when the tie is taken to Croatia.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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