Everton likely to face Uefa disciplinary action after brawl in Lyon defeat

Paul Wilson at Goodison Park on 20 October 2017

Everton look likely to face Uefa disciplinary action after their Europa League match with Lyon descended into a melee, with a few of the home crowd involved in an ugly brawl sparked by the captain Ashley Williams.

Ronald Koeman’s side went down 2-1 in the Group E game – a result which left them bottom of the table – but it was the second-half flashpoint which could see Everton and Williams facing punishment. The captain’s shove on the Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, sparked heated confrontations between players in front of the Gwladys Street end. As the group surged to the advertising hoardings, a supporter holding a child in one arm aimed a punch in the direction of the keeper.

Koeman later suggested the Dutch referee, Bas Nijhuis, was partly to blame for the Goodison fireworks. “I couldn’t see exactly what happened behind the goal, a lot of players were involved, but I can fully understand my players being frustrated,” he said. “I told the officials what I thought at the end of the game. I know the referee was Dutch, but he failed to do anything about Nabil Fekir diving about 10 times.

“Kenny Tete too, it was happening all the time, and he allowed their physio to come on to the pitch.Then he only added on five minutes at the end, and that’s after six substitutions, two goals and a fight. I think the players were mainly acting out of frustration, and I can understand why.”

Regarding the match, Koeman said: “We made too many mistakes, it was thanks to Jordan Pickford that the score was only 2-1. We started well but made a really stupid fault after just five minutes. I have no complaints, it was the right decision from the referee to give a penalty, but there were a lot more mistakes and bad decisions after that. That’s what we are looking at the moment: doubts, errors, and players without confidence. I know from my playing days what that does to you.

“When you are short of confidence you make poor decisions, as Davy Klaassen did when going for a shot instead of putting in Dominic Calvert-Lewin. We are in a difficult situation now because you only get confidence from winning and we have an important game [with Arsenal] at the weekend. I think it is going to be very difficult for us now in Europe too, you normally win most of your points at home and we only have one from two games.”

Bruno Génésio, the Lyon coach, said he enjoyed a “typically English night” and atmosphere, and praised the Everton fans for the support they gave their side throughout. He even agreed that the melee, or “incident” as he called it, did the home team a favour. “Right up to the incident we were in control, then things changed,” he said. “To me it seemed it woke Everton up and drove them forward.”

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