Liverpool, United Kingdom | AFP | Oumar Niasse came in from the cold to lift Everton as the Senegal forward’s second half brace clinched a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.
Ronald Koeman’s side were heading for a fourth successive Premier League defeat when Josh King put Bournemouth ahead after the interval at Goodison Park.
But Niasse, frozen out for much of last season by Koeman, came off the bench to score twice in his first appearance for Everton in the Premier League since May 2016.
Thanks to Niasse’s heroics, Everton won for the first time in five league games to climb out of the relegation zone.
After spending over £140 million ($174 million, 152 million euros) on new signings during the close-season, Everton have been struggling under the weight of increased expectations and this was a vital three points for the under-fire Koeman.
Bournemouth remain in the bottom three after their fifth defeat from six league games.
Routed 6-3 at Everton last season, Bournemouth were on the back foot again as Gylfi Sigurdsson appealed in vain for an early penalty after tumbling under pressure from Dan Gosling.
Rooney was furious after an elbow from Bournemouth’s Simon Francis left him prone on the turf with blood pouring from a gash just above his eye.
Adding insult to injury for Rooney on his 400th Premier League start, the challenge went unpunished by referee Martin Atkinson, who turned down Everton’s penalty claim and took no action against Francis.
?? | 35 minutes, two goals, three points, one Man of the Match award!
— Everton (@Everton) September 23, 2017
Rooney left the pitch to change his shirt and clean up his blood-stained face, but the former Manchester United star was able to return to action before half-time.
Bournemouth hadn’t scored an away goal all season, but King ended that barren run in spectacular fashion, taking Charlie Daniels’ pass and drilling home from 20 yards in the 49th minute.
Jermain Defoe should have doubled Bournemouth’s lead moments later when he ran clear, but Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made the save.
Koeman responded by sending on Tom Davies and Niasse for Rooney and Davy Klaassen.
It proved an inspired change as Davies set up Everton’s 77th minute equaliser with a precise cross that his fellow substitute Niasse slammed into the net.
Niasse wasn’t content to settle for his first Premier League goal for Everton and he bagged the winner in the 82nd minute.
Asmir Begovic saved Niasse’s initial header but the rebound fell perfectly for the forward to steer home.
— Salim Masoud Said (@salimosaid) September 23, 2017