Everton grabs late winner to ease into Europa League playoffs

Everton scored late to book a place in the Europa League qualifying playoff round with a 1-0 win (2-0 on aggregate) away against Ruzomberok.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first leg, Everton worked hard from the start for a goal but failed, with Morgan Schneiderlin going closest with a header from Sandro Ramirez’s corner, while Ruzomberok threatened with Dominik Kruzliak heading over.

However, aside from Kruzliak’s effort, a strike from Erik Daniel were the only attempts on goal that Ruzomberok that troubled Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford. Matus Macik also had a quiet evening, with Everton rarely troubling the Slovak defence.

The breakthrough then finally came for Everton 10 minutes from time as Davy Klaassen played in substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the right, who then struck a low first-time effort past the reach of Macik from 12 yards.

With the win, Everton could look forward to learn who their next opponents are through the draw for the play-off round that takes place later today. The ties will be played on 17 and 24 August, with the 22 winners going into the Europa League group stage.

“Maybe Dominic feels a bit more comfortable as one of two strikers. He’s strong, he’s fast and he scored a great goal,” Everton manager Ronald Koeman said. “It was a physical game and 90 minutes that the players needed. We are through to the next round and I’m really happy.”

“This competition has always been important for me. I like to be in Europe — it’s important for our experience. It’s good for the club, the players and the fans. It’s not easy to reach the group stages but we will do everything to get there.”

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