Lyon scrap to narrow victory as Everton remain winless in Europa League
Europa League Group E – Goodison Park – Everton 1 (Williams 69) Lyon 2 (Fekir 6 pen, Traore 75)
Everton’s European hopes are hanging by a thread after they were beaten 2-1 by Lyon in a fiery encounter at Goodison Park.
The Toffees came into this tie bottom of Group E with only one point, and a run of only three wins in their last 11 games in all competitions had raised question marks over Ronald Koeman’s future at the club.
Ronald Koeman, Everton managerGetty Images
And the Dutchman couldn’t have asked for a worse start here, Mason Holgate fouling Marcal inside the box with skipper Nabil Fekir confidently slotting home from the spot-kick to give Lyon the lead after only six minutes.
Koeman named an experimental starting line-up with Kevin Mirallas handed a rare start in attack - Wayne Rooney was omitted from the squad altogether – and it was the Belgian who was presented with the home side’s best opportunity of the first half, but his shot was well saved by Anthony Lopes.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was introduced shortly after the restart and it was his free-kick delivery which provided the equaliser as his pin-point cross was finished emphatically by Ashley Williams, who may have been sent off only minutes prior to his goal. The Welshman pushed goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, sparking a melee with several players from both sides becoming involved, with the defender perhaps fortunate only to be booked.
The sides meet again on November 2, but Everton may well need a miracle to progress any further in the competition.
Koeman’s position becomes even more precarious: The Dutchman was trusted with over £100m to spend during a busy summer of transfer activity, and the general feeling amongst the Goodison faithful was that their side could finally challenge for a top-four position this season.
And it all started so well. A win over Stoke on the opening day was followed by a hard fought draw with title-favourites Manchester City, but it has all gone downhill since then. A run of three wins in 12 games has heaped the pressure on Koeman, pushing Everton towards the bottom of the table and now facing the prospect of exiting Europe before Christmas.
A defeat at home to Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League may well be the last straw for the Everton board who must be growing increasingly frustrated with their manager.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bertrand Traore (Lyon): The 22-year-old played like he had a point to prove to his former employers Chelsea. He was never really given an opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge, but he certainly made an impact at Goodison. The Everton defenders couldn’t cope with his pace, directness and movement.
Everton: Pickford 7, Keane 4, Williams 6, Martina 6, Holgate 5, Schneiderlin 7, Mirallas 5, Klaassen 4, Davies 6, Vlasic 6, Calvert-Lewin 7. Subs: Sigurdsson 8, Ramirez 5, Lookman 7.
Ashley Williams (Everton) and Anthony Lopes (Lyon)Getty Images
5’ - PENALTY TO LYON! A nightmare start for Everton as they concede a penalty! Marcal is taken down by a dreadfully mis-timed Mason Holgate tackle and the referee has no choice other than to point to the spot.
6’ - GOAL! LYON TAKE THE LEAD! Fekir confidently slots the ball into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Pickford. It is the worst possible start Everton could have imagined.
31’ - MIRALLAS CHANCE! Lovely intricate football from Everton, orchestrated by Mirallas. He links up with Davies as they play a one-two, releasing Mirallas, but his shot is well blocked by Lopes.
35’ – OFF THE WOODWORK! Wow, so close to Lyon's second. Depay's free-kick from 30 yards takes a wild deflection off the head of Davies, Pickford is rooted to the spot, and he can only watch on as the effort bounces off the crossbar.
Nabil Fekir and Bertrand Traore sunk EvertonGetty Images
64’ – AGRO! Williams fouls Lyon's goalkeeper Lopes as the corner comes in and then three or four Everton players become involved in a melee with a number of Lyon players - it is all kicking off close to the supporters. In the end, Williams and Traore are both shown yellow cards. Williams is especially fortunate not to be sent off.
69’ - GOAL - EVERTON ARE LEVEL! A wonderful free-kick delivery from Sigurdsson is inch-perfect for Williams who heads the ball powerfully past Lopes!
72’ - EVERTON HIT THE POST! Sigurdsson's delivery causes chaos once again, as his free-kick evades everyone and eventually strikes the post, before Lyon clear!
74' - GOAL - Lyon ARE AHEAD! Cornet, only on as a substitute, delivers a dangerous cross to the near post and it is a stunning back-heel finish from Traore! It gives the visitors the advantage going into the last 15 minutes and Everton have it all to do - again!
- Nabil Fekir has been directly involved in 12 goals in 12 appearances for Lyon this season (eight goals, four assists).
- Bertrand Traore has been directly involved in 10 goals in just 15 starts in the Europa League (six goals, four assists).
- Everton have picked up just one point after three Europa League group stage games – the worst start of any English club at this stage.
- Only three sides have progressed past the Europa League group stages after collecting one point in the first three games.