Everton 1-2 Lyon: Second-Half Fightback Not Enough to Stop Toffees' Slide in Europa League Clash

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Everton endured another evening of frustration in their encounter with Lyon in the latest round of Europa League fixtures at Goodison Park. 

After falling behind to a well taken penalty by visiting skipper Nabil Fekir in the fifth minute, the Blues managed to equalise with an Ashley Williams' bullet header in the second half, but a Traore goal 15 minutes from time cemented the Toffees to the bottom of Group E without a win. 

Both teams came into the fixture on a poor run of European form; the home side not having won any of their previous three matches and Lyon without a victory in any of their previous four matches away from the Groupama Stadium. 


Surprisingly, Ronald Koeman made a number of changes, with Wayne Rooney was missing from the Toffees' squad and replaced by promising youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a front three. Kevin Mirallas started in place of Gylfi Sigurdsson who took his place on the bench with Leighton Baines who was being rested. Lyon started with Brazilian Marcal deputising at left-back and 18-year-old striker Myziane Maolida making his first team debut.

Under the lights, which sparkled on the emerald turf of Goodison Park, the crowd were treated to an entertaining and breathless encounter, which kept everyone on the edge of their seats. After initially sparring each other out like prize fighters during the initial exchanges, Lyon earned a penalty on their first attack. 

In the fifth minute, Mason Holgate brought down Marcal who made a positive run into the penalty area and was up-ended with an untimely challenge. Fekir, the club captain, confidently dispatched the penalty past Jordan Pickford's despairing dive into the bottom left corner. 

The half continued to be short on quality, but high on endeavour. However, after good play by Tom Davies, who was Everton's best player, on the edge of the area he then played a clever through ball to Mirallas' feet, the Portuguese forward quickly turned and fired against the legs of the on-rushing keeper with the ball bouncing to safety.

On the 36th minute, Memphis Depay had a free-kick thirty yards out, but central to goal. The former Manchester United man struck the ball with power and it took an heavy deflection off Davies' head which left Pickford flat footed as it ricocheted off the bar for another corner for the visitors. 


Undeterred, Everton continued to push forwards, Davy Klassen then intercepted a poor pass from Marcal on the edge of the visitors' box and drilled a low shot to Lopes' left which the keeper dealt with confidently and pushed away from the danger area. This sparked the home crowd into life with a roar of approval and served to encourage Everton to finish the half with a flourish, however Lyon stood firm and maintained their lead at half time.

The introduction of Ademola Lookman, at the start of the second half, for Klassen gave the home side an essential injection of pace and he nearly made an immediate impact. Connecting well with a cross and drawing another smart save form Lopes at his near post. 

Davies continued to be the bright spark, industriously making tackles and having the confidence and energy to look for the ball to feet. After starting the second half quickly, Everton were unable to sustain any pressure as Lyon were able to confidently defend their goal. 


There were ugly senses during the 64th minute as frustrations boiled over. Lopes went to collect a high bouncing ball near his own goal line, but Ashley Williams bundled into the Portuguese keeper causing him to fall into the advertising hoardings while his team mates, Everton players and even a selection of home supporters wrestled for superiority. Williams fortunately escaped with a yellow card, but the incident served to increase the raucous atmosphere.

In the 68th minute, Williams' lucky escape proved costly. As Sigurdsson, who had come on for Schneiderlin, whipped over one of his trademark free-kicks Williams emphatically headed back across Lopes' goal and the ball nestled in the net. 

Everton were building momentum and looked the team most likely to find that all important winning goal. Nevertheless, Lyon had remained a threat on the counter-attack throughout the contest and Bertrand Traore managed to capitalise on a quick break down the right and cleverly backed heeled in slow motion past a helpless Pickford. 

The result will be a huge disappointment for all concerned with Everton, as qualification for the knock out round now looks beyond them.