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Everton In A Strong Position

Everton In A Strong Position

Everton are well placed to make the Europa League group stages following a 2-0 play-off first leg win over Hajduk Split at Goodison Park on Thursday.

This game will be remembered mostly though for the crowd trouble in the first half.

Shortly after Everton went ahead, as Michael Keane scored his first goal for the Blues when heading in a Leighton Baines cross, Hajduk fans surged towards the pitch and threw various objects.

After a five minute delay, during which Hajduk players urged the visiting fans to settle, a two goal advantage was opened up when Idrissa Gueye added the second.

Jordan Pickford again made a few impressive saves to collect another clean sheet and ensure the Toffees go into next week's second leg in Croatia in a strong position. This could see club record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson involved - he was introduced to the Goodison crowd at half time but wasn't seen as fit enough to feature.

If Everton had continued in the second half as we had the first Ronald Koeman feels this tie would have been out of sight. As it is the Blues' boss wasn't too pleased with the intensity after the break, which means next week will 'be difficult' as a result - it would have anyway in fairness.

'I thought we did very well in the first half - we played with high tempo and made chances to score. The second half was about controlling the game and going for a better result, but we didn't manage to do that and now next week will be difficult,' Koeman told the Official Website.

Adding: 'In my opinion, we lost the opportunity to score more goals in the second half, because we dropped the tempo. We gave them the belief to dominate the game. We were dangerous in a few moments, but not like in the first half. That was about us - and I'm not happy about the second half.'

However, a clean sheet and first leg win isn't something to be too unhappy about but, like any boss, Koeman is always striving to achieve more and wants Everton to 'reach the maximum,' which would have been 'more goals.'

Koeman also commented on Sigurdsson, who could make his Blues debut at Manchester City on Monday? This will be decided following tests on his physical conditioning with a decision made on Sunday.

He finished: 'We will do some tests to see about Gylfi's physical state. He needs game time, but if it's game time he needs - it will be with the first team. I don't know if he'll be involved on Monday, but we will make that decision on Sunday.

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Writer:Vital Everton
Date:Friday August 18 2017
Time: 8:00AM

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