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Fans stay away from Toffees hammering

Everton 1 Atalanta 5

By Carl Markham

Everton's season - like their search for a manager - continues to drift apparently rudderless after an insipid display in the 5-1 defeat against Atalanta which put the Serie A side through to the last 32 of the Europa League.

There was nothing riding on the game for the already-eliminated Toffees, but the visitors found it all too easy, even discounting a missed penalty from captain Alejandro Gomez, with two goals from Bryan Cristante early in each half.

Sandro Ramirez's first strike for the club he joined in the summer gave the hosts something to fight for late on, but two strikes from substitute Andreas Cornelius and another from Robin Gosens in the closing stages typified Everton's haplessness.

The second-lowest Goodison crowd in Everton's European history - the 17,431 beaten only by the 1,200 fewer who watched the European Cup Winners' Cup game against University College Dublin in 1984 - endured a grim night.

Everton lacked purpose, intent, a seemingly coherent plan, and their shape could at best be described as fluid, at worst shambolic.

Exactly a month since Ronald Koeman was sacked, David Unsworth's record is four defeats, a win and a draw with 15 goals conceded and six scored.

While the interminable search for a replacement drags on, RB Leipzig's sporting director Ralf Rangnick was the latest to be linked, the club's under-23s coach is not making much of a case for an internal appointment.

Everton's last clean sheet came in the Carabao Cup win over Sunderland on September 20 and it took just 12 minutes for Atalanta to extend that wait with a goal which owed as much to the Toffees' apparent disinterest as the visitors' own creativity.

Three minutes after the break Ashley Williams, already booked, was lucky to concede only a penalty after bringing down Cristante despite replays suggesting he touched the ball.

Joel Robles saved Gomez's spot-kick and follow up but, after the goalkeeper prevented Williams scoring an own goal and Jonjoe Kenny headed off the line, Cristante out-jumped three markers at the near post to make it 2-0.

Sandro's angled shot pulled one back with 18 minutes to go but Keane being penalised for a foul as his header bounced off the crossbar and onto the line was as close as Everton came to an equaliser.

In the closing stages, Gosens and Cornelius put them out of their misery to secure Atalanta's first European away win since 1991.

Belfast Telegraph


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