Everton 3-1 Southampton
A sensational second-half Everton comeback secured Rafa Benitez his first win as manager, beating Southampton 3-1 in their opening Premier League game.
There was polite applause from the Goodison Park crowd as Benitez emerged from the tunnel before the game but, despite starting well, a calamitous error from Michael Keane allowed Adam Armstrong through for his first Premier League goal on his Southampton debut in the 22nd minute.
Everton managed to ride the wave of Saints confidence until half-time, but Benitez’s first team-talk clearly worked as Richarlison, fresh from his Olympic gold with Brazil at Tokyo 2020, hauled Everton level two minutes after the break.
It was then a quick Everton double that completed a superb comeback as Abdoulaye Doucoure fired home in the 76th minute before a classic striker’s goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin (81) made sure of the three points.
It is now 10 years since Everton lost their opening game of the Premier League season. There were plenty of bright moments from the Saints, but their dismal 2021 form has carried over into the new season, having won just four Premier League games since the turn of the year.
Everton: Pickford (7) , Coleman (7), Holgate (6), Keane (5), Digne (7), Doucoure (7), Allan (7), Townsend (7), Gray (7), Calvert-Lewin (7), Richarlison (7).
Subs used: Iwobi (7), Mina (6), Gordon (n/a).
Southampton: McCarthy (6), Livramento (7), Stephens (6), Salisu (7), Perraud (7), Romeu (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Walcott (6), Djenepo (6), Adams (7), Armstrong (7).
Subs used: Tella (5), Diallo (5), Redmond (5).
Man of the match: Richarlison.