Category Archives: Europa League

Europa League: Arsenal half-time rally earns opening day win

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Arsenal came from behind to beat Cologne by 3-1 in their Europa League encounter that had to be delayed for an hour following crowd trouble.

Arsenal had fell behind early when, after receiving a poor clearance from Gunners keeper David Ospina, Cologne’s Jhon Cordoba controls the ball then fires the ball towards the Arsenal goal with Ospina out of position, who could only look in despair as Cologne led after just 10 minutes.

The Gunners mustered a reply but only after half-time, when Arsene Wenger brought in Sead Kolasinac in place of Rob Holding. Theo Walcott’s attempt to cross from the left side of the box was blocked, but it ricocheted into Kolasinac, who made no mistake in his first-time volley effort and equalized.

Finding the winds in their sails, Alexis Sanchez then doubled Arsenal’s lead with an incisive run infield, culminating with a successfully converted curling effort from the edge of the box.

Bellerin then sealed the win for Arsenal from close range, tapping in a rebound after another Walcott effort was saved.

Before the game started, the match had to be delayed by an hour “in the interests of crowd safety”.

There had been thousands of ticketless away supporters who turned up outside the ground, and scuffles had ensued between fans and stewards inside after the gates opened. Police later said that five people had been arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

However, there was no reports of trouble during the game itself, where the German side had only been given a ticket allocation of 2,900.

Everton enters Europa League after draw with Hajduk Split

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Everton secured a spot in the group stages of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw away against Hajduk Split.

With a 2-0 lead from the first leg, Everton only need a draw or a one-goal loss to advance, and for most part of the first-half their disciplined and measured plays ensured that they could secure such a result.

However, Hajduk Split looked to shake things up just two minutes before half-time, with Josip Radosevic letting fly a swerving 35-yard shot that beats Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.

But it did not take long for Everton to respond, as their £45m club record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson pay due to his transfer fee on his first full debut with a stunning volley.

Starting a move by closing down a loose ball on the right, as he was falling backwards by doing so, the Icelandic playmaker sent a looping, angled volley over the goalkeeper Dante Stipica and into the back of the net from 50 yards.

Everton coach Ronald Koeman said after the game “I saw Gylfi’s goal, but I don’t think everyone on the bench did. It was incredible. I don’t have any other word for it. You need to be clever to see that possibility and after two or three weeks of the season, it could be the goal of the season [already]. It was really important to be level so quickly in the second half.”

Split, needing three goals to counter the away goal rule, could have regained their lead as Ashley Williams conceded a penalty for a clumsy challenge, but the spot kick was well saved by Pickford this time around. The penalty save was key as well because there were still 30 minutes to go at that time,” said Koeman.

However, Everton will have a more difficult test ahead as they travel to Chelsea on Sunday, with Koeman also revealing that the Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye had been rested with a slight hamstring problem.

Everton takes lead against Hajduk in Europa League first playoff round

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Everton took a firm 2-0 lead against Hajduk Split in their first of two legs in the playoff round of the Europa League amidst crowd troubles at the Goodison Park.

The Toffees took the lead when Dante Stipica’s weak punched clearance at a corner was seized on by Leighton Baines, who then easily picked out Michael Keane for the centre-half to nod in from close range for his first goal for the club.

But play was quickly stopped soon after for five minutes. In the 33rd minute, travelling Hajduk fans, who had been packed into a corner of the Bullens Road stand, surged towards the Goodison Park pitch together and threw objects while stewards fought to restore order.

Wayne Rooney had a goal disallowed for what looked a tight offside call after play resumed, and in the seconds before five minutes of added time was announced Everton increased their lead through Idrissa Gueye who slide a low shot into the bottom corner.

On the other end of the pitch, Jordan Pickford produced three fine saves as the Croatian pressed more in the second half, including a smart save low to his left from Franck Ohandza to stop the visitors netting a potentially crucial away goal.

Everton coach Ronald Koeman could have been pleased with the result ahead of their second leg — especially in the knowledge that a win, a draw or a single-goal defeat could guarantee their place in the Europa League group stage — but the Dutchman was not over the top celebrating.

“I was really happy with the first half, really unhappy with the second,” Koeman said after the match. “We dropped the tempo too much after going two up, and that scoreline was not the maximum we could have taken from the game.”

“Winning 2-0 is fine in the Premier League, you get three points, but here we have another game to play and we have made it more difficult than it needed to be.”

Everton grabs late winner to ease into Europa League playoffs

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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.”