Everton 4 Wolfsburg 1 Everton made a successful return to European football with a 4-1 victory over Wolfsburg at Goodison Park last night.
Manager Roberto Martinez showed he is taking the Europa League seriously by naming a full-strength side and was rewarded with a perfect start to their campaign.
Both teams were playing in Europe for the first time in five seasons but the hosts were the more clinical and, after an own goal from
in the 15th minute, Republic of
netted just before half-time and Leighton Baines fired in a 48th-minute penalty.
Tim Howard was the busiest player on the park in the second half but Kevin Mirallas rubbed salt in Wolfsburg's wounds with a fourth before Rodriguez atoned for the own goal by beating the Everton goalkeeper with a free-kick.
Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson replaced Steven Naismith in the 81st minute to make his first Everton appearance in almost a year. The Derry man was denied a dream comeback when Wolfburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio saved his shot.
The scoreline ultimately flattered Everton but there was no doubt they dominated. EVERTON: Howard, Coleman (Osman 90), Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, McGeady, Naismith (Gibson 81), Mirallas, Lukaku (Eto'o 68). Subs Not Used: Robles, Besic, Atsu, Alcaraz. Booked: Naismith, Mirallas. WOLFSBURG: Benaglio, Jung, Knoche, Naldo, Rodriguez, Gustavo (Guilavogui 76), Malanda (Hunt 46), De Bruyne, Arnold, Caligiuri (Bendtner 60), Olic. Subs not used: Grun, Schafer, Klose, Klich. Booked: Knoche. Attendance: 29, 593 Referee: Luca Banti (Italy).