Category Archives: Europa League

Everton suffers ugly Europa League defeat by Lyon at home

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Everton’s poor start to season continued with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Europa League, with the game descending into a melee in the second half following an ugly brawl sparked by the captain Ashley Williams.

Lyon — who, like Everton were without a win in Group E — took the lead inexplicably just after six minutes through Nabil Fekir’s penalty, awarded for Mason Holgate’s rash and ill-timed challenge on Fernando Marcal.

Then, a second-half flashpoint which could see Everton and Williams facing punishment came, as Williams’s shove on the Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, sparked heated confrontations between players in front of the Gwladys Street end.

The match was held for a couple of minutes as the group melee surged to the direction advertising hoardings, with a supporter holding a child in one arm spotted aiming a punch in the direction of the keeper.

Afterwards and seemingly roused by the clash, Williams headed a perfect free-kick cross delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson to turn from villain to hero from six yards and equalized.

Sigurdsson came close again moments later with a second free kick that hit the inside of a post, but Lyon responded and extinguish any hopes of an Everton revival. As Maxwel Cornet turned back a ball across goal from the right-hand byline, a slight flick from Bertrand Traore in the middle was enough to secure all three points for the Ligue 1 club.

The defeat, which comes after a 3-game winless streak despite a huge amount of summer transfer activity amounting to well over £100m for the Toffees, further calls into question the future of coach Ronald Koeman with the club.

“We made too many mistakes,” the Dutchman said after the game. “It was thanks to Jordan Pickford that the score was only 2-1. We started well but made a really stupid fault after just five minutes.”

“I have no complaints, it was the right decision from the referee to give a penalty, but there were a lot more mistakes and bad decisions after that. That’s what we are looking at the moment: doubts, errors, and players without confidence. I know from my playing days what that does to you.”

“The final decision is by the board not myself,” Koeman then added regarding his position. “If the board thinks I am not the right man they will tell me.”

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.”