Convincing Everton see off Lille

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Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Everton took a major step towards the knockout stages of the Europa League as goals from Leon Osman, Phil Jagielka and Steven Naismith saw them claim a comfortable 3-0 victory over Lille at Goodison Park.

The Toffees took a deserved lead in the 27th minute when Osman – on the same day it was announced he had agreed a one-year extension to his contract – rifled past Vincent Enyeama.

Jagielka’s header then doubled the advantage three minutes before the interval, before Naismith struck home in the 61st minute.

It wrapped up another convincing win for Roberto Martinez’s side in a European home fixture, with their last outing at this ground in Group H being the 4-1 victory they pulled off against Wolfsburg in their opener.

Since then, Everton, in what is their first continental campaign for five seasons, have drawn 1-1 at FK Krasnodar and 0-0 at Lille, and the unbeaten pool leaders are now close to securing a place in the next round.

They are top of the group with two more rounds of games to go on eight points, one clear of Wolfsburg – who beat Krasnodar 5-1 on Thursday.

Lille are third with three points, while Krasnodar are fourth with two.

Everton had struggled to show much cutting edge in attack either in their first meeting with Lille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy two weeks ago or Saturday’s home Barclays Premier League clash with Swansea, both of which had ended goalless.

But, with a first XI showing four changes from the weekend’s game, they looked a threat going forward from the word go on this occasion.

Romelu Lukaku was one of those brought into the starting line-up and his turn and shot in the first minute brought a fine save out of Enyeama.

Three minutes later the Toffees were almost in again. Enyeama rushed out as the ball was played through and Naismith and Aiden McGeady tried to finish off the move but Lille managed to clear.

That pair combined again on the quarter-hour mark, with Naismith heading off-target from McGeady’s free-kick, before Ryan Mendes fashioned Lille’s first real effort on goal in the 24th minute, cracking a shot that Tim Howard tipped over.

Soon after, Everton broke the deadlock as James McCarthy brought the ball forward and spread it out wide to McGeady, whose cross was controlled on the chest of and fired in by Osman, his first goal since March.

Lille claimed the 33-year-old midfielder used his arm to control the ball, but the effort stood.

The visitors looked to hit back swiftly and Tony Hibbert made an important headed interception, getting there ahead of Divock Origi, the teenage forward loaned back to the French outfit after joining Everton’s local rivals Liverpool over the summer.

Lukaku then passed up a decent chance to make it 2-0, missing in front of goal with a header from McGeady’s cross, before a fine Distin tackle took the ball away from Origi as the 19-year-old burst forward.

Everton attacked again, with Enyeama getting in the way of a Naismith strike, and from the resulting corner, the hosts scored their second.

Once again it was McGeady swinging the ball in and Toffees captain Jagielka converted with a diving header, the centre-back registering his fourth goal of the campaign, including one for England.

Martinez’s men were looking in control to say the least, and that did not change after the break.

Lukaku curled a free-kick goalwards that Enyeama fisted away well, and the third goal then arrived as Leighton Baines cut the ball back to Naismith, who nipped around Marko Basa before firing high into the net to take his Everton tally for the season to five.

There was a brief moment of concern for Martinez when Gareth Barry was hurt in a challenge with Sebastien Corchia, but the Toffees man – albeit having been shown a yellow card for his part in the collision – was able to get to his feet and was immediately substituted for Darron Gibson, while McGeady was brought off for Christian Atsu.

It seemed the game was up by that point anyway, and Lille continued to offer little in attack for the rest of the contest, while Lukaku had an effort ruled out for offside.

Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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