Everton celebrated Leon Osman’s sterling service to the Club by playing out a 1-1 draw with FC Porto in the midfielder’s testimonial.Everton vs Porto highlights.
As well as watching an evenly-contested game, the home fans also got a first glimpse of new signing Muhamed Besic who impressed with his range of passing after being introduced as a half-time substitute.
Tim Howard and England trio Ross Barkley, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines all made their first appearances since returning from World Cup duty, while new £28million signing Romelu Lukaku was paraded to the crowd at half-time.
The afternoon started with Osman entering the field of play to a guard of honour from the two teams and a rapturous reception from the healthy crowd that had gathered to show their appreciation for the 33-year-old.
Everton began the game brightly with Naismith putting the ball into the Porto net after just three minutes, only for it to be disallowed for offside.
Barkley then created an opening with his quick feet and power but a curling effort from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Fabiano.
The visitors offered very little early on – Howard did not make a save of note before he was replaced by Joel Robles after 20 minutes.
There were no injury concerns over the American who simply wanted to be involved on teammate Osman’s big day but was clearly being eased back into action by manager Roberto Martinez after only just returning to pre-season training.
Shortly after his introduction, Robles had to be alert as former Chelsea winger Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a fierce drive from distance which was narrowly off-target.
Porto offered more as the first half progressed and they enjoyed spells of play in dangerous areas, delivering several corners and crosses, one of which resulted in Antolin Alcaraz slicing a clearance just over his own bar.
But after weathering the period of pressure, Everton went ahead against the run of play three minutes before the interval.
McGeady capitalised on Fabiano’s poor distribution, releasing Naismith who coolly placed the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the area to give the Blues a half-time lead.
At the interval, plenty of fans stayed in their seats rather than retreating to the concourses as new Club record signing Lukaku was showcased on the pitch. Similarly to Osman before kick-off, the £28million man received a hero’s reception by the Goodison crowd.
At the break, Roberto Martinez threw on new signing Besic, Sylvain Distin and James McCarthy, while John Stones and Tyias Browning also emerged from the bench moments later.
Colombian hot-shot Jackson Martinez, a star at the recent World Cup, came on for the visitors – and he wasted no time making his mark.
The striker levelled for Porto 10 minutes after the restart with a precise left-foot finish into the bottom corner, leaving Robles with no chance.
Jackson Martinez could have had a second midway through the second period but he scuffed his shot following a dangerous cross from the right. And in Porto’s next attack, he again went close when a near-post header was deflected around the target.
Everton finished the game strongly with McGeady carving out a couple of decent openings with crosses from the right.
The Blues’ best opportunity to regain the lead fell to Browning nine minutes before the end but the defender, playing at left-back, was denied by a scrambling save from Fabiano after ghosting in at the far post.
And Osman almost completed a fairytale storyline with a diving header that flashed just past the post – his last action before being replaced by Conor McAleny in the closing stages.
The Blues now make a return trip to Prenton Park to play Celta Vigo on Wednesday before completing their preparations for the new season in Germany against SC Paderborn next weekend.Follow @Football7x24