Gylfi Sigurdsson wonder-strike sees Everton through
Everton have qualified for the Europa League group stages after a 1-1 draw against Hajduk Split.
Two long-range stunners from Josip Radosevic and Gylfi Sigurdsson saw the teams draw on the night, but Everton progressed after a 2-0 win in the first leg last week.
Hajduk dominated the early stages and could have been ahead when Ante Erceg was brought down by Jordan Pickford in the area but the offside flag saved the Everton goalkeeper.
Ahmed Said then sent a cross long before Radosevic’s free kick hit the wall.
Wayne Rooney could have given Everton the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute. He combined with Cuco Martina before headed the full back’s cross wide.
Pickford pulled off a marvellous save to keep the score level, diving towards the top corner to keep out Erceg’s shot.
Radosevic’s wonder-goal gave Hajduk the lead three minutes before the break. He unleashed a 40-yard shot which flew into the top corner.
Everton restored their two-goal aggregate lead straight after the restart, and Sigurdsson opened his Blues account. Another wonder-goal, this time Sigurdsson launched the ball over the head of Dante Stipica into the bottom corner from 50 yards.
Radosevic nearly scored his second of the night on the hour mark but fired wide. Sigurdsson then attacked down the left wing but his cross narrowly missed Dominic Calvert-Lewin who would have tapped in.
Hajduk needed three goals in the last half hour to go through and were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute. Ashley Williams fouled Erceg but Pickford dived to the right to keep out Said’s spot-kick.
Rooney could have put the tie beyond doubt in the 85th minute. He broke through the defence but his shot was parried away by Stipica.
Everton will find out who their group stage opponents when the draw is made at 12pm on Friday.