Romelu Lukaku bags hat-trick in Everton romp in Europa League
The Europa League again brought out the best in Everton on Thursday as Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 win away to Swiss side Young Boys in the first leg of the round of 32.
Paris: The Europa League again brought out the best in Everton on Thursday as Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 win away to Swiss side Young Boys in the first leg of the round of 32.
Seamus Coleman was also on target as the Toffees came from behind to win in Bern despite Guillaume Hoarau giving the home side an early lead.
Everton had to play the final half hour with only 10 men after John Stones was sent off for giving away a penalty, but Hoarau missed from 12 yards and the Premier League side eased to a fine win that leaves them with one foot in the last 16 ahead of next week`s return.
Roberto Martinez`s side have won only one of their last nine Premier League games but they won their Europa League group in style in the autumn and they were back to their best at the Stade de Suisse.
Their 3,700-strong travelling support were silenced with just 10 minutes on the clock when gangly French striker Hoarau curled a shot into the top-right corner of the net from outside the box.
However, Lukaku headed low into the net at the near post to equalise on 24 minutes and four minutes later a fine move ended with Coleman arriving at the back post to roll a Steven Naismith ball over the line.
There was more than a suspicion of offside as Lukaku turned a deflected Gareth Barry ball in to make it 3-1 six minutes before the break, and Young Boys were then denied another goal of their own just before half-time when James McCarthy blocked a Sekou Sanogo Junior shot on the line.
Belgian striker Lukaku got his third of the night just before the hour, drawing goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo and lifting the ball into the net after latching onto a Ross Barkley pass.
Lukaku became just the fourth player representing the blue half of Merseyside to score a hat-trick in Europe, following in the footsteps of Alan Ball, Andy Gray and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.
Young Boys won a penalty soon after as former Paris Saint-Germain striker Hoarau was bundled over in the box by Stones as he was about to pull the trigger.
Stones was dismissed by the Portuguese referee, but Hoarau blazed the spot-kick over the bar.
Lukaku actually missed several chances to further add to Everton`s lead, although the only real black mark on the visitors` evening apart from the red card was seeing Bryan Oviedo go off injured in the second half.
"He`s the complete striker, but he`s only 21 and people forget about that," said Martinez of Lukaku.
"We saw today he really makes a difference in front of goal and he`s someone who is going to have a really strong ending to the season."
Elsewhere, German Bundesliga high-fliers Wolfsburg, who lost twice to Everton in the group stage, beat Sporting Lisbon 2-0 thanks to a second-half brace by man-of-the-moment Bas Dost.
The Dutch striker scored four times for the Wolves in a remarkable 5-4 league win at Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.
Rafael Benitez`s Napoli are all but through to the next round after a 4-0 victory against Trabzonspor in Turkey, but Roma were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Feyenoord.
Torino drew 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao while there were also wins for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Zenit St Petersburg and Club Brugge.