Everton FC 4-1 VfL Wolfsburg
An early Ricardo Rodriguez own goal set the home side on course for a victory not as one-sided as the scoreline suggested.
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• Ricardo Rodriguez's 15th-minute own goal breaks the deadlock
• Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines (penalty) and Kevin Mirallas add further efforts
• Rodriguez hits late free-kick for a Wolfsburg side who register 11 shots on target
• Next games: Krasnodar v Everton, Wolfsburg v LOSC (2 October)
Everton FC made a winning start in Group H thanks to a 4-1 triumph against VfL Wolfsburg that was far from as comprehensive as the scoreline suggested.
Roberto Martínez's men gained an early advantage through Roberto Rodriguez's own goal and they made sure of the points either side of the break via a Seamus Coleman header and a Leighton Baines penalty. Kevin Mirallas's late fourth added a flattering gloss to the scoreline before Rodriguez finally got the better of busy home goalkeeper Tim Howard.
For both clubs, this was their first taste of European competition since 2009/10 and the two managers stated their intent by sending out unchanged teams from their most recent domestic assignments.
Dieter Hecking's Wolfsburg passed the ball confidently, but it was Everton who went in front with their first real moment of fluidity. It came from a slick passing move between the trio of James McCarthy, Baines and Steven Naismith, which ended with a Naismith shot crossing the line via deflections off both goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and Rodriguez.
Everton's second goal arrived in first-half added time when Benaglio only half-saved a Mirallas shot and Baines crossed for Coleman to nod in. Two minutes after the break, Robin Knoche tripped Aiden McGeady and Baines made it three from the spot.
To their credit, Wolfsburg responded with a flurry of chances, but Howard matched them, notably with a fine double save from Daniel Caligiuri and Luiz Gustavo and fingertip stop from De Bruyne. Mirallas tucked away a fourth at the other end after Samuel Eto'o had sent him clear, but eventually Howard was beaten when Rodriguez's free-kick flew in off the post.