IT’S not often you can guarantee the Goodison faithful will applaud goals by the opposition.
But should the Everton defence be breached tonight, that’s exactly what will happen.
Some 101 years after CD Everton was formed, the Chilean club will finally face their namesakes for the inaugural Brotherhood Cup.
CD Everton were established by a group of exiled Anglo-Chilean football supporters in 1909 in the port of Valparaiso, inspired by Everton’s all-conquering tour of South America alongside a travelling Tottenham Hotspur side.
To mark their centenary year the Vina Del Mar club have been invited to Merseyside to play Everton and arrive as the first Chilean club to play in Europe.
It is an honour that delights CD Everton manager Nelson Acosta who says he will be a proud man leading his team out at Goodison.
“This is an historic occasion for Everton Chile and the English Everton,” said Acosta.
“It is the first time a Chilean team has been invited at club level to come and play anywhere in Europe. We will be the first to do it and we are very proud of that.
“Over the years there have been links and similarities between the two clubs. It goes beyond the world of football. We are in the realms of cultural and historic links between the two countries; between our cities.
“It is a great moment for us.”
As the man who led CD Everton to the club’s first league title for 32 years two seasons ago, Acosta is accustomed to making history.
Born in Uruguay, he played for Penarol in his homeland before moving to Chile in 1977 to join CD Everton.
Although his playing days at Everton were shortlived, it is here that his love affair with the country began and he eventually became a naturalised Chilean in 1984.
He went on to manage the national team and oversaw Chile’s 2-0 win over England at Wembley prior to the 1998 World Cup.
Acosta guided Chile to France that year where he added another chapter to the story of Chilean football.
“That was the first time in our history we’d got beyond the World Cup group stages playing outside of Chile,” he says proudly.
“I’ve made history in Chile at various stages of my life but winning the title with Everton was the most important achievement of my career by far simply because we hadn’t won it for 32 years prior to that.
“I arrived in 2007 when the team was in danger of being relegated. It was my job to keep them up.
“We cleared out lot of players and started virtually from scratch. We built up a totally different side and won the league.
“But now there are only four or five of that team still with us. It is like a constant rotation policy in Chile. Some players only stay for a year and move on to different countries. But Everton is a big part of my life.”
The transient nature of club football in Chile means that CD Everton have found it difficult to emulate the success of two years ago.
With the Chilean season well underway – Acosta’s side were granted special dispensation by the country’s football Association to travel to Europe – CD Everton are currently lying in mid-table.
“The title will be difficult this year,” admits Acosta. “We have a lot of ground to make up this season but will go for it again next season. We will bring in new players and start again.”
Although David Moyes’ Everton are outstanding favourites to triumph tonight, Acosta insists his team are not just here to make up the numbers.
“It’s absurd that you can actually think of going into a game as a professional football manager and not have the intention of winning,” said the 66-year-old.
“Obviously it’s a special occasion, different from any other game, but we still want to win if we can.
“As representatives of our country, we have a duty to come here and play to the best of our ability. In terms of Chilean football and also to continue the links between the two clubs we need to do ourselves justice and play to our maximum.
“It will be a very good experience for our players to come over here and face players from different cultures. We are very keen to do well while we are here.”
Just as CD Everton provide an element of the unknown, Acosta admits he knows little of their English counterparts. He used the World Cup to brush up on some of the Blues’ dangermen and singles out Tim Howard as one player who caught his eye in South Africa.
“We didn’t know too much about Everton’s team but watching the World Cup where they had so many players involved, we saw a lot more of them,” he said.
“The goalkeeper Tim Howard stood out in particular.
“He played really well for the United States.
“You take note of the teams that did well and the names of Everton players tended to crop up.
“That has helped us become more aware of Everton.
“Saying that, we didn’t want to take too much notice of the players doing well at the World Cup or we may become afraid of them!”
Despite the friendly nature of tonight’s game – all money raised will be donated to the Former Everton Players Foundation – Acosta is giving little away as to what we can expect from the visitors.
“I like my teams to do their talking on the pitch,” he smiles.
“I don’t make a mystery of it but it’s down to how the players react on the pitch. You’ve got to devise a system that best suits the players at your disposal at any given moment.
“If a manager has got his own system devised but the players do not fit into that than he’s got problems.”
It all adds to the intrigue of a fascinating encounter.