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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Solid Everton should keep a clean sheet

Hajduk Split lack firepower

Wayne Rooney celebrates against Stoke
1 of 1

Europa League playoff first leg
8.05pm Thursday

Everton have kept it clean this season and they can make it four successive shutouts when Hajduk Split head to Goodison Park for the first leg of their Europa League playoff.

Hajduk are a famous name of the past in Europe, reaching the European Cup/Champions League three times as well as the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup and Cup Winners' Cup, but they were last champions of Croatia in 2005.

It has been a barren time and they are unlikely to get anything from this trip to Merseyside, particularly with dangerous forward Marko Futacs injured.

Futacs was the top scorer in Croatian football last season with 18 goals in 26 appearances as Hajduk finished third in the HNL. The Split side were 19 points behind champions Rijeka and Everton are worth backing to take a lead to Croatia without conceding an away goal.

Everton beat Ruzomberok 1-0 in both legs of their last Europa tie and then repeated the trick against Stoke in Saturday's Premier League opener.

The Toffees look solid defensively and are helped by their robust midfield duo of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye.

James McCarthy and Ross Barkley have joined the list of long-term absentees which is headed by Seamus Coleman, while Sandro Ramirez is rated doubtful by Everton boss Ronald Koeman.

However, Wayne Rooney got off the mark against Stoke and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is another threat who can help the Toffees to move a step closer to the Europa League group stages.

No UK broadcasters have taken up the TV rights to show the match.

Recommendation
Everton to win to nil
1pt 20-21 BoyleSports 


Team news
Everton
The Toffees could be without Sandro Ramirez after he picked up a knock against Stoke.

Hajduk Split
Hungarian striker Marko Futacs is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury.

Key stat
Everton have won nine of their last ten home outings – six of them without conceding.

Everton beat Ruzomberok 1-0 in both legs of their last Europa tie
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