Sunday 18 February 2018

Martinez heaps praise on in-form Lukaku

Everton 3 Young Boys 1

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with teammate Luke Garbutt (right)
Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with teammate Luke Garbutt (right)
Sekou Sanogo scores the first goal of the game for Young Boys
Young Boys' Marco Wolfli fouls Everton's Steven Naismith in the box for a penalty
Everton's Kevin Mirallas scores his side's third goal
Everton's Romelu Lukaku heads the ball at goal

Luke Edwards

Everton manager Roberto Martinez hailed the quality of striker Romelu Lukaku who starred with two goals to help his side cruise into the last 16 of the Europa League.

Lukaku had proved the scourge of the Swiss side during the first leg of the last-32 tie in Bern last Thursday, the Toffees' £28m club record signing netting three times in their 4-1 victory.

And he was at it again on Merseyside as Everton once more came from behind on the night, the 21-year-old Belgian equalising with a penalty in the 25th minute after Sekou Sanogo's close-range 13th-minute opener, then volleying home on the half-hour mark to take his tally for the season to 15 goals.

Everton subsequently went in 3-1 up at the interval, just as in leg one, after Kevin Mirallas slotted in three minutes from the end of the first half having latched onto a superb Darron Gibson through-ball.

"He has been creating a huge amount of chances, and scoring the goals or not is sometimes moments of form or a bit of luck. His goalscoring quality is fantastic and to score five goals at this stage is a great reward," Martinez said.

"The amount he put in, the way he moved around and held up players was very pleasing on top of the two goals he scored in the two legs."

Despite the comfortable nature of their progression in the competition, Martinez gave Young Boys credit, as Everton became the only British side to progress from the round of 32. Liverpool, Celtic and Tottenham were all knocked out earlier in the evening, but the Spaniard refused to gloat.

"We have seen what a good team Young Boys are," Martinez said. "From the beginning as we expected they wanted to get back into the game and had a really attacking attitude and we saw a really good game of football with a lot of chances."

Irish Independent

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