Richard Sellers
toffee crisp

Gylfi Sigurdsson scores astonishing 50-yard volley as Everton reach group stages

The Icelandic international conjured a moment of brilliance for Ronald Koeman’s side as they confirmed Europa League progress.

GYLFI SIGURDSSON WENT some way to paying back the £45m that Everton paid Swansea for his services as he conjured a remarkable goal as the Toffees booked their place in the group stages of this season’s Europa League.

The 1-1 play-off second-leg result away to Hadjuk Split was enough for the Merseysiders to take the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

Things looked far from secure for Ronald Koeman’s men when the home side took the lead on the night shortly before the interval as Josip Radosevic struck from 35 yards

But, Sigurdsson – making only his second appearance for the Toffees since joining and his first start – settled the nerves with a truly astonishing strike within moments of the restart.

There were just 16 seconds gone in the second half when the Icelandic international successfully challenged for the ball close to the right touchline.

As the ball subsequently bounced up from the turf, Sigurdsson slid and stretched out his right-leg to catch it perfectly on the volley, and sent a floating effort sailing over the head of Dante Stipica.

It was a magnificent strike and left the home side in need of three goals to wrestle through, which proved insurmountable.

Elsewhere, some high-profile sides failed to progress.

Ajax lost 3-2 to Rosenborg and bow out 4-2 on aggregate while Fenerbahce suffered another embarrassing defeat to Vardar, who are now the first Macedonian club to qualify for the group stages of the competition.

Club Brugge were thumped 3-0 by AEK Athens while Legia Warsaw lost out on away goals to Sheriff Tiraspol.

AC Milan are safely through after a narrow win over Shkëndija.

The draw for the group stages will be made on Friday at 12pm Irish-time.

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