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Everton revived on Europa League stage

Everton FC 4-0 AEK Athens FC
Everton shrugged aside their problems in the Premier League as three first-half goals set them on the way to a comfortable win.

Sylvain Distin leaps in celebration after making it 2-0
Sylvain Distin leaps in celebration after making it 2-0 ©Getty Images

Everton FC shrugged aside their problems in the Premier League as they cruised to victory against AEK Athens FC in their opening UEFA Europa League Group I fixture at Goodison Park.

Joseph Yobo, Sylvain Distin and Steven Pienaar found the net in the first half before Jô's late fourth gilded the lily. Both sides finished with ten men after second-half red cards for AEK defender Carlos Araujo and Everton substitute Louis Saha.

Early filip
David Moyes's team have suffered three league defeats in four games but they went into this encounter unbeaten in eight European home ties and did not look back after the filip of Yobo's early goal. After Sebastián Saja had turned behind a Pienaar shot, the home captain rose at the far post to head in Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's ensuing corner after ten minutes.

Distin on hand
AEK lost Geraldo with a knee injury soon after and their evening deteriorated further when Bilyaletdinov's next corner led to Everton's second. Although Marouane Fellani's attemped volley was blocked, at the far post Distin drove the ball back into the opposite corner.

Araujo dismissed
Juanfran and Nsaliwa both sent long-range efforts over for AEK before Pienaar showed how it should be done with Everton's third eight minutes before the break. Receiving the ball midway inside the AEK half, he stepped forward before drilling a fine low shot into the bottom corner from 25 metres.

Jô strikes
The small but noisy band of travelling AEK fans kept singing even after seeing defender Araujo dismissed after he appeared to catch Distin with a flick of his boot. They were denied a consolation goal when Ismael Blanco sent a close-range shot just wide. Instead Saha teed up Jô to turn and shoot low past Saja. Saha was dismissed in injury time for violent conduct.