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Gylfi starts to repay Everton with stunner to seal Euro spot

Hajduk Split 1 Everton1 (Everton win 3-1 on aggregate)

By Brian Evans

Gylfi Sigurdsson marked his first Everton start with a spectacular goal to help put Ronald Koeman's side into the group stages of the Europa League after a 1-1 away draw with Hajduk Split.

Everton were defending a 2-0 lead from the play-off first leg at Goodison Park, which had been marred by crowd trouble from the travelling supporters, with play stopped during the first half and governing body Uefa launching disciplinary action against both clubs.

Josip Radosevic, though, soon halved the deficit with a 30-yard effort just before half-time.

However, the Stadion Poljud was silenced less than a minute after the restart when Icelander Sigurdsson, who completed his £45million move from Swansea last week, looped the ball in with an angled drive from just inside the Hajduk half.

Jordan Pickford then saved a penalty from Ahmed Said as Everton closed out a 3-1 aggregate win to take their place in today's group stage draw.

Wayne Rooney was back in action a day after announcing his retirement from international football with England, but it was the Croatian side who threatened early on.

Ante Erceg was through and looked to have been brought down by Pickford, but the keeper was saved by an offside flag.

Pickford, signed from Sunderland for an initial £25million this summer, produced a fine finger-tip save from Erceg's angled drive, but could not prevent Hajduk from taking the lead after 42 minutes with a fine long-range shot from Radosevic.

The ball was worked back into the middle some 30 yards out, where Radosevic fired in a rising shot, which looked to have taken a deflection off the back of Everton defender Leighton Baines as it flew past Pickford.

The home fans, though, were silenced less than 30 seconds after the restart when Sigurdsson cracked home a memorable strike.

Belfast Telegraph

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