Woeful Everton humbled by Atalanta in Europa League group-stage opener
Europa League Group E - Mapei Stadium – Atalanta 3 (Masiello 27, Gomez 41, Cristante 44) Everton 0
Everton suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in their opening group game of the Europa League on Thursday.
Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin all featured in a strong Everton XI, which saw six changes from the starting line-up that lost to Tottenham at the weekend, but Ronald Koeman’s side put in a lacklustre performance at Atalanta, who finished fourth in Serie A last season.
Andrea Masiello, Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristiante all scored in the first half as Everton struggled to cope with the attacking threat; Rooney found himself essentially on left-back duties for much of the time as the visitors' formation looked shaky.
Everton managed only two shots in the entire match, and though Koeman attempted to shore things up with some second-half substitutions, there proved no additional goalscoring possibilities.
Atalanta celebrate after the matchReuters
Are Everton out of their depth? With so much money spent, one might expect a more functional team - but this was an utter shambles, with no real sniff of a goal. Ronald Koeman has some thinking to do.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Andrea Petagna (Atalanta). Strong, powerful and always a danger to a limp Everton defence.
Atalanta: Berisha 7, Toloi 7, Palomino 8, Masiello 8 (Caldera 77, 6), Hateboer 7, Cristante 8 (Kurtic 82, 7), Freuler 7, de Room 7, Castagne 7, Petagna 9 (Cornelius 79, 7), Gomez 8. Subs not used: Gollini, Orsolini, Haas, Bastoni.
Everton: Stekelenburg 7, Baines 5, Holgate 6, Jagielka 6, Keane 5, Scheiderlin 6 (Ramirez 66, 6), Besic 5, Vlasic 5, Rooney 7 (Klaassen 66, 6), Sigurdsson 6, Calvert-Lewin 5 (Mirallas 76, 6). Subs not used: Pickford, Williams, Martina, Gueye.
13' CHANCE! A snapshot from Sigurdsson, beaten away by Berisha.
26' SAVE! Great save from Stekelenburg as Masiello, the centre half, thinks he's given his side the lead. Corner.
27' GOAL! He scores this time, though, nipping in at the far post as the ball bobbles through the box and nudging it into the net.
41' GOAL! Oh, what a brilliant strike by Gomez, who's Atalanta's key man. He's on the edge of the box, takes a couple of steps in, and lets loose with his right foot.
44' GOAL! And that's a third, from Cristante - so much space as Atalanta pour forward. Gomez was unmarked on the far side, Cristante was in the middle, and he fired it home.
Atalanta's Alejandro Gomez celebrates after the match with teammatesReuters
Everton have lost their last four games in Italy.
Everton are only the third English side to lose their first Europa League group game.