Everton held to draw by Lille

2014-10-23 22:01
Tim Howard (AFP)

Paris - Everton have retained top spot in Group F on Thursday as they battled to a 0-0 draw at Lille in Europa League action following a day of trouble and fighting in the city centre between fans and police ahead of the tie.

The Merseysiders, who last won their only continental trophy in 1985 when they lifted the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup, enjoyed the lion's share of possession but lacked a cutting edge up front as Nigerian number one Vincent Enyeama kept the visitors at bay.

The stalemate lifts Roberto Martinez's team up to five points from three matches with Germany's Wolfsburg alone in second on four after they defeated Krasnodar 4-2 in Russia.

"I knew it would be a tough game against a good Lille side but I was a bit disappointed with the pitch," said Martinez.

"People might not have been able to see on television but the pitch was very difficult and we couldn't get on the ball as much as we'd have liked," added the Spaniard.

"It's another very good away performance and a good away point so I'm happy with the result."

Earlier in the day and the night before the match, fans from both sides were involved in a series of street battles as police were forced to step in with tear gas.

There were a handful of minor injuries.

Lille remain third after three straight draws with Krasnodar dropping to the bottom on two.

It was Wolfsburg's first win of the campaign after a draw and a defeat in their earlier two outings.

An own-goal from Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist after 37 minutes handed the 2009 German champions the initiative before former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne doubled their lead just after half-time.

Granqvist helped repair his earlier blunder when he converted from the penalty spot five minutes later but Luiz Gustavo restored Wolfsburg's two goal advantage with a 64th minute strike.

Belgian international De Bruyne grabbed his second of the match with 10 minutes left as Wolfsburg gave themselves a cushion before Brazilian Wanderson closed out the scoring with a late consolation goal.

In Group J, northern Danish side Aalborg shook up the pool as they defeated previously unbeaten Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine 2-0 while Romanian hopefuls Steaua Bucharest hung on to defeat Rio Ave of Portugal 2-1.

Thomas Enovoldsen put the Danes in front after just 11 minutes before Nicolaj Thomsen wrapped up the points just before half-time.

Croatian outfit Rijeka were too strong for former Dutch champions Feyenoord in Group G as they dragged themselves back into contention with a 3-1 home win.

All the goals came in the last 27 minutes as Rijeka climbed into second spot on four points alongside Standard Liege with defending champions Sevilla top of the pile on five after a 0-0 draw in Belgium.

In Switzerland, Young Boys stunned former UEFA Cup winners Napoli 2-0 thanks to goals from former Paris Saint-Germain striker Guillaume Hoarau and Leonardo Bertone.

The win takes Young Boys top of Group I on goal difference ahead of Napoli while Sparta Prague can draw level on six points with a win at Slovan Bratislava in a match yet to be completed following crowd trouble in Slovakia.

Fiorentina are in full command of Group K as they made it three wins from three with a 1-0 success in Greece at PAOK, who remain on three points and in third spot.

French side Guingamp are alone in second on four points after holding Dinamo Minsk 0-0 as the Belarus club picked up their first point.

Twelve matches are slated for later on Thursday with Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne taking some 10,000 supporters to Inter Milan, Tottenham at home to Greek side Asteras Tripolis and Scottish champions Celtic at home to Astra Giurgiu of Romania.

Europa League results on Thursday:

Group G
Standard Liege (BEL) 0 Sevilla (ESP) 0
Rijeka (CRO) 3 (Kramaric 63, 71, 76-pen) Feyenoord (NED) 1 (Toornstra 67)

Group H
FK Krasnodar (RUS) 2 (Granqvist 51-pen, Docarmo 86) VfL Wolfsburg (GER) 4 (Granqvist 37-o.g., De Bruyne 46, 80, Luiz Gustavo 64)
Lille 0 Everton 0

Group I
Young Boys (SUI) 2 (Hoarau 52, Bertone 90+2) Napoli (ITA) 0
Slovan Bratislava (SVK) 0 Sparta Prague (CZE) 3 (Lafata 56, Konate 61, Krejc 81)

Group J
Steaua Bucharest (ROM) 2 (Rusescu 17, 45) Rio Ave (POR) 1 (Yonatan Del Valle 48)
Aalborg 3 (Enevoldsen 11, Thomsen 39, 90+1) Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 0

Group K
PAOK (GRE) 0 Fiorentina (ITA) 1 (Vargas 38)
Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 0 Guingamp (FRA) 0

Group L
Trabzonspor (TUR) 2 (Yatabar 54, Constant 86) Lokeren (BEL) 0
Metalist (UKR) 0 Legia Warsaw (POL) 1 (Duda 28)

Read more on:    lille  |  everton  |  europa league  |  tim howard  |  soccer

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