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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Sandro set for starring role on trip to Ruzomberok

The Toffees are very much a work in progress

Everton's Sandro changed the shape of the game with his pace and movement in the first leg
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Europa League third qualifying round second leg
ITV4, 7.45pm Thursday

Everton have caught the eye with their transfer dealings this summer and one of their new boys, Spanish striker Sandro Ramirez, could play a starring role in their Europa League third qualifying round second leg tie against Ruzomberok at Stadion pod Cebrat'om.

The tie is still in the balance after the Toffees laboured to a 1-0 success over Ruzomberok at Goodison Park last Thursday and they will be up against determined opponents in sultry conditions in Slovakia, with temperatures expected to peak in the early 30s during the day and remain in the high 20s in the early evening.

However, the heat shouldn't come as too much of a shock to Everton, who included a trip to Tanzania in their pre-season schedule.

Ruzomberok will have to chase the game although they recovered from first-leg defeats in the first and second qualifying rounds, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 aggregate success against Vojvodina and a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory against SK Brann.

Playing in the earlier rounds has given them a good base level of fitness and they are two games into their domestic season, losing 2-1 away to Zlate Moravce and winning 4-0 at home to Senica.

They caused Everton a few problems on Merseyside and were denied an away goal when Maarten Stekelenburg made a good save from Jan Maslo.

Everton are a work in progress with Ronald Koeman still working out his best 11 but there were a few positives last week.

Attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen sparkled on his competitive debut and Wayne Rooney did much better in the last 30 minutes after dropping back from centre-forward to a more withdrawn position.

The substitution which allowed Rooney's positional change was the introduction of Sandro for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The striker was given extra time off this summer after featuring for Spain at the European Under-21 Championship and was only ready for a place on the bench last week.

However, Sandro's introduction changed the shape of the game with his pace and movement stretching the Slovakian side.

With another week's training under his belt, the Spaniard seems highly likely to be handed his first Everton start.

He knows where the goal is, scoring 14 times for Malaga in La Liga last season, and looks a strong candidate to score the second goal of the tie.

Sandro first goalscorer
1pt 4-1 bet365

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Team news
Ruzomberok had a fully fit squad going into Sunday's league match at home to Senica and have reported no fresh injuries.

No new injuries have been reported but Yannick Bolasie, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley and Ramiro Funes Mori remain unavailable.

Key stat
Ruzomberok have lost three of their last four home games in European football.

Sandro's introduction changed the shape of the game with his pace and movement stretching the Slovakian side
E.W. Terms
Sky bet