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Preview: Everton vs. Pumas - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Everton and Pumas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having already added the Florida Cup to their trophy cabinet, Everton conclude their stint in the United States with a fixture against Mexican side Pumas in Orlando on Wednesday.

Rafael Benitez's side came up trumps in an enthralling penalty shootout versus Millonarios in the Championship Match, while the Pumas were a late arrival to the tournament amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Match preview

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez watches his side take on Wolves on February 11, 2019© Reuters

As Florida Cup organisers desperately scrambled to fill the voids left by Arsenal and Inter Milan's withdrawals from the tournament, Everton travelled across the Atlantic undeterred to face Colombian side Millonarios in what would ultimately become the Championship Match.

Benitez's side would fall behind through Andres Llinas's opener in the 19th minute, but new arrival Demarai Gray would mark his arrival with the equaliser from 12 yards in the second half, and the two outfits would ultimately be forced to do it the hard way from the penalty spot.

After 19 penalties had been converted during a gruelling shootout, another new Toffee in Asmir Begovic would proceed to save from Juan Esteban Moreno having made the net ripple with his own effort, and Everton would proceed to lift the trophy at the Camping World Stadium.

While the imminent encounter with Pumas is part of the summer tournament, this will be nothing more than an exhibition match for Everton with the trophy already in the bag for the journey home, but keeping their 100% pre-season record intact is enough of an incentive to get the job done on Wednesday.

The Toffees overcame Accrington Stanley and Blackburn Rovers back home before boarding the plane to the States, and the pick of the bunch awaits for Benitez on August 7, as Everton round off their preparations at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Pumas head to Orlando having just kicked off their 2021-22 Liga MX campaign against Atlas, but it was not a tie for the ages as the two clubs played out a 0-0 draw on the opening weekend.

The seven-time domestic champions could only muster a 15th-placed finish in the Torneo Guardianes 2021, but they have not been goal-shy in pre-season, notching up nine goals across their three pre-season games with Atletico Morelia, San Antonio and Queretaro.

Andres Lillini's side will not be competing for anything other than pride against the 2021 Florida Cup champions, but a positive performance will do them the world of good before they resume league action against Monterrey at the weekend.

Everton and Pumas will be going head-to-head for the first time ever during Wednesday's double-header, with Colombian outfits Millonarios and Atletico Nacional finishing off a disrupted tournament which will unfortunately not be remembered fondly.

Everton Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W

Pumas Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • D

Pumas form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates scoring their first goal on May 9, 2021© Reuters

Everton remain without an unidentified first-team player following their suspension pending a police investigation, but Benitez was still able to name a near full-strength side for the battle with Millonarios.

Yerry Mina, Richarlison, Jordan Pickford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin continue to recover from their international exploits, and Benitez is likely to shuffle the pack considerably after their triumphant weekend encounter.

Gray is a candidate to feature in the attack, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin - who has earned the praises of Benitez - could return to the first XI as he endeavours to finally stay fit.

Pumas are also expected to make a raft of changes seeing as their domestic season has now kicked off, but they have been dealt an early blow as Carlos Gutierrez suffered a fractured fibula in training.

Gabriel Torres is back in the fold after representing Panama at the Gold Cup, but veteran goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera remains with Mexico as they prepare for Thursday's semi-final against Canada.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Virginia; Kenny, Keane, Anderson, Digne; Gomes, Gbamin, Davies; Gray, Kean, Broadhead

Pumas possible starting lineup:
Paz; Rivas, Galindo, Freire, Rodriguez; Lira, Garcia; Rogerio, Alvarez, Saucedo; Torres

SM words green background

We say: Everton 1-0 Pumas

Pumas' minds will undoubtedly be focused on the league season after their last-minute call-up to the Florida Cup, and an Everton team - albeit a much-changed one - can take advantage of that with a narrow success before they return to Merseyside.

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Richarlison celebrates scoring for Everton on February 8, 2020
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