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Published: 22:08 | 19/10/17

Everton fall to Lyon at Goodison Park

Everton are rooted to the bottom of Europa League Group E after a 2-1 defeat to Lyon at Goodison Park.

The French grabbed an early lead through a Nabil Fekir penalty, before the Toffees levelled with 20 minutes remaining through an Ashley Williams header.  

Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the upright soon after as Everton looked for a winner, but it was Lyon who got the breakthrough, with Bertrand Traore back heeling home.

Atlanta beat Apollon Limassol 3-1 in the group’s other game, taking them top of the table via goals from Josip Ilicic, Andrea Petagna and Remo Freuler. They’re followed by Lyon in second and Limassol in third. Everton look to be totally out of contention in fourth, with just one point. Things looks little better in the Premier League, with Everton 16th, and facing a must-win clash against Arsenal at home on Sunday, with manager Ronald Koeman under increasing pressure amid a disastrous start to the season.

Koeman opted to rest star striker Wayne Rooney for the tie, opting instead to start Kevin Mirallas alone at the top of a 4-5-1 formation, but the Toffees got off to the worst possible start when Mason Holgate chopped down Fernando Marcal with a woefully timed tackle and the referee pointed to the spot after just six minutes. Lyon captain Fekir stood up and slammed the spot kick low and right into the bottom corner - for his eighth goal of the season - to give the French side a lead to hold onto right from the off.  

The early strike sucked the life out of Goodison Park as the home crowd watched in hushed tones as their side tried to work their way back into the encounter. However, it took Everton until the 17th minute to carve out a first chance as Mirallas cut inside off the left wing and let rip with his right peg, only to get his angle quite well off as the ball went wide on the near side of the goal. Morgan Schneiderlin found an opening not long after but the Frenchman dragged his effort wide of the sticks. At the other end, Lucas Tousart tested Jordan Pickford with a volley from the edge of the area that the keeper dealt with comfortably.  

Mirallas carved out an even better opportunity for himself just after the hour when he exchanged a one-two with Tom Davies before forcing Anthony Lopes into a save from an acute angle.  

Despite Everton’s improved pressure, they could have found themselves 2-0 down after 37 minutes when Memphis Depay smashed a free-kick on goal, with a Davies header deflecting the ball onto his own crossbar.  

The chances were coming frequently at either end with Davy Klaassen going close next as he pumped a low shot at goal which Lopes got down well to push away, before Depay tested Pickford again with an effort from just inside the Everton area.  

Lyon had the final opening of the first period with Traore ghosting past Cuco Martina and curling an effort on goal that whistled inches wide of the left post.  

Nineteen-year-old striker Ademola Lookman was introduced at half-time for Klaaassen at half-time as Koeman looked for a touch of magic in attack, switching formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. The youngster almost made an immediate impact as he got on the end of a corner in from the left, but could only direct his effort straight at Lopes.  

The chances continued to flow as Lyon stole possession from Davies, with Myziane Maolida being fed in the area and only a last-ditch block from Schneiderlin denying the French side. The Frenchman was injured in the process and made way for Gylfi Sigurdsson with 30 minutes remaining.  

Williams was lucky not to see red soon after as he started a melee after pushing keeper Lopes while in the air, with both sets of players joining in a pushing and shoving match, with Williams appearing to throw a number of punches. The referee appeared to miss them, however, as he handed out just a yellow to Willliams and Traore.  

But the fight for a comeback was clearly alive in Everton and it showed as they claimed the equaliser through the very man who should seen red minutes earlier. Sigurdsson curled a sublime delivery into the box where Williams met it with a bullet header that powered to the back of the net past Lopes.  

The tempo was up and the momentum was with Everton as they were denied the lead by the woodwork. Sigurdsson this time delivered a free-kick from the left side, which evaded everyone, before rattling the base of the right post.         

Having done so well to haul themselves back into contention, Everton went and undid all their hard work. Gnaly Maxwell Cornet broke down the right flank before pulling back to the centre where Traore delicately back heeled to the net, via a slight deflection off Michael Keane.  

Traore and Lookman both attempted ambitious efforts at either end as Everton looked to save themselves in the final quarter of an hour.  

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – who had a very quiet night by his usual standards – tested Lopes with a header from a Sandro Ramirez cross, with the keeper making a fine acrobatic save. The end-to-end drama continued with Pickford denying Jordan Ferri from point-blank range.  

Everton were given five minutes of added time to find the leveller, but bar a scuffed effort from Williams, failed to threaten the goal, as the pressure on Koeman continues to mount.

You can watch all of Everton’s Europa League campaign on the eir Sport package. Ronald Koeman's side face Lyon, Atalanta and Apollon Limassol in Group E.

Image: Getty/Ross Kinnaird

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