BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – New signing Demarai Gray scored his second goal in as many Premier League games for Everton and Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted a penalty as the Toffees continued their good start with a 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (Aug 28).
Gray, who joined the Merseyside club from German side Bayer Leverkusen in July, gave the visitors a 41st-minute lead when he beat goalkeeper Robert Sanchez with a crisp low shot into the far corner after a darting run.
Everton dominated and Sanchez kept out a low Andros Townsend drive midway through the first half while his opposite number Jordan Pickford parried a Pascal Gross free kick after Gray had silenced the home fans.
Halftime substitute Joel Veltman gave away a clumsy penalty when he clattered into Seamus Coleman and Calvert-Lewin drilled in the spot kick in the 58th minute but not before a tussle with team mate Richarlison.
The Brazilian forward grabbed the ball and refused to let first-choice penalty taker Calvert-Lewin proceed before he was restrained and ushered away by several Everton players.
Sanchez spared Brighton, who had won both their opening two matches, a bigger defeat when he denied Abdoulaye Doucoure in the closing stages but Everton were well worth their win which put them on seven points from three games.
Everton boss Rafa Benitez praised Gray for a fine performance and had no sympathy for Richarlison’s petulance.
“Demarai Gray has been working hard in training, he’s improving,” Benitez told Sky Sports.
“He has more confidence and he’s pushing to play. It’s nice having players that train that way, making sure the manager selects them.
“With the penalty, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the first taker, Richarlison knows he’s the second one.
“The main thing is that he scored, we won. We have to compete in training to see who scores more penalties, but at the moment Dominic is the first one.”
Gray said: “Always good to get a win before the international break. Similarly to last week, we started without much possession, but we’ve got good structure in the team.
“Before the penalty – I’m not too sure what happened. It’s a good thing that all our strikers want to score goals, but Dom (Calvert-Lewin) is the taker and he tucked it away.”