Toffees through to Europa League group stages

2017-08-25 08:43
Gylfi Sigurdsson.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Everton reached the Europa League group stages after successfully negotiating the qualifiers, but 2017 losing finalists Ajax failed to make it past the play-offs.

Hajduk Split 1-1 Everton

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored on his full Everton debut to salvage a 1-1 draw with Hajduk Split at Stadion Poljud on Thursday, which sealed a 3-1 win on aggregate in the qualifying play-off round.

Sporting a 2-0 lead from the first leg, Ronald Koeman's side found themselves trailing 1-0 at the break, but Sigurdsson's audacious long-range strike shortly after the restart levelled matters as they progressed to the tournament proper.

The hosts made the better start and created the first real chance on 18 minutes when Ante Erceg dragged his shot wide of the mark after latching onto Said Ahmed Said's ball over the top.

Wayne Rooney then had a sniff on goal at the other end as he played Cuco Martina into space on the left, but failed to direct his header on target from the defender's cross.

Sigurdsson was invited to shoot when Dominic Calvert-Lewin's cross was poorly cleared into his path on 25 minutes, but the Iceland international sliced his effort wide from 18 yards out.

The Whites finished the half strongly, though, and Erceg forced Jordan Pickford into a sharp save with his angle strike on 38 minutes that took a deflection off Michael Keane, before they broke the deadlock five minutes later.

Josip Radosevic lined up a shot from 35 yards out that flew over Pickford, having touched Leighton Baines on its way into the back of the net.

However, their lead was short-lived as Sigurdsson equalised in the opening minute of the second half with an incredible shot from all of 50 yards out that dipped over Dante Stipica to nestle in the goal. The play-maker had lost his footing in the attempt, but there was more than enough power on it to sail over the home keeper.

Rooney missed another good chance when he failed to test Stipica with a header from Ademola Lookman's cross, while at the other end Said was unable to beat Pickford from the penalty spot after Ashley Williams had felled Erceg inside the area.

The closing stages saw Stipica deny Calvert-Lewin one-on-one after the youngster raced through on goal, before Rooney fired straight at the keeper. 

Rosenborg 3-2 Ajax

Ajax's European adventure came to an early end after a 3-2 defeat to Rosenborg at the Lerkendal Stadion saw them crash out at the first hurdle.

The Dutch giants made it all the way to the final of the competition last season before being bested by Manchester United, but there would be no repeat this time around.

Having suffered a 1-0 reverse at home in the first leg, Marcel Keizer's side fell behind to Nicklas Bendtner's 25th-minute opener which gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at half-time.

However, two goals in the space of a minute in the second half from Amin Younes (60') and Lasse Schone (61') appeared to swing the tie in Ajax's favour until Samuel Adegbenro's late brace (80', 89') sent them packing.

Thursday's other results:

AEK Larnaca 0-0 Viktoria Plzen

Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 Marítimo

Oleksandriya 1-2 BATE Borisov

Ostersund 2-0 PAOK

Red Bull Salzburg 4-0 Viitorul

Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-2 Rheindorf Altach

Zenit 2-2 Utrecht (AET)

Sheriff Tiraspol 0-0 Legia Warsaw

Fenerbahce 1-2 Vardar

Suduva 0-0 Ludogorets

AEK Athens 3-0 Club Brugge

Videoton 0-4 Partizan

Skenderbeu Korce 0-0 Dinamo Zagreb

Midtjylland 1-1 Apollon Limassol

Shkendija 0-1 Milan

Marseille 3-0 Domzale

Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Panathinaikos

Braga 3-2 FH

Red Star Belgrade 2-1 Krasnodar

Austria Wien 0-1 Osijek

Read more on:    everton  |  europa league  |  gylfi sigurdsson  |  soccer

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