Europa League playoffs: Everton shrug off crowd trouble to beat Hajduk Split, AC Milan cruise to win

Paris: Everton took a 2-0 lead in a Europa League qualifying play-off first leg clash on Thursday against Hajduk Split in Liverpool in a game stopped temporarily due to crowd trouble.

Hajduk fans surged towards the Goodison Park pitch and threw objects with play stopped shortly after Michael Keane's 30th-minute header had put the hosts in front.

After police brought the situation under control players returned to the pitch and Everton doubled their lead in the 45th minute thanks to Idrissa Gueye's strike off a Wayne Rooney cross.

Everton will take a healthy 2-0 lead to Croatia for the second leg. AFP

Everton will take a healthy 2-0 lead to Croatia for the second leg. AFP

"I was really happy with the first half and unhappy about the second. We lost a big opportunity to score more goals," said Everton coach Ronald Koeman.

Keane said he was delighted to score his first goal for Everton since his move from Burnley in the summer.

“I’m delighted - first and foremost, to get a clean sheet,” the England defender told www.evertonfc.com.

“That’s what we aim for, especially in European games at home. It’s massive and makes it a lot easier when they don’t score.

“It was the same case as in the last tie, when we took a 1-0 win over there. We managed to go one better today. I thought we played well in the first half, we weren’t really ourselves in the second half but at least we got the clean sheet.”

In Milan, defender Leonardo Bonucci captained AC Milan to a 6-0 win on his competitive debut for the Italian side against modest Macedonians Shkendija two months after playing for Juventus in the Champions League final.

The Chinese-owned club were too strong for the Macedonians with a double from new signing André Silva in the first half and Riccardo Montolivo after 25 and 85 minutes.

Fabio Borini and Luca Antonelli added two more midway through the second half to set the Italians on the road to the group stages with the second leg away on 24 August.

Vincenzo Montella's side have never won the second-tier European competition which they last competed in the 2008-2009 season.

Meanwhile, last year's finalists Ajax Amsterdam lost 1-0 at home against Rosenborg with substitute Samuel Adegbenro scoring the winner for the Norwegians after 77 minutes in the Netherlands.

Marseille drew 1-1 at Domzale in Slovenia after Morgan Sanson equalised for the French after 63 minutes after Amedej Vetrih put the hosts ahead after 12 minutes.

Elsewhere, Turkish giants Fenerbahçe, with Nabil Dirar and Mathieu Valbuena playing, fell to a shock 2-0 loss to Vardar in Macedonia.

Athletic Bilbao came from behind to beat Panathinaikos 3-2 in Greece thanks to a late Aritz Aduriz double on 68 and 73 minutes as Red Star Belgrade fell 3-2 at Krasnodar in Russia.


Published Date: Aug 18, 2017 09:27 am | Updated Date: Aug 18, 2017 09:27 am