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Saturday 27 September K.O. 12:45



Goodison Park | 17th September 2009 20:05

Everton v AEK Athens

Dominant Everton brushed aside AEK Athens 4-0 and produced their best performance of the season so far, getting their Europa League group stage campaign off to a flying start.

Joseph Yobo and Sylvain Distin - his first goal for the Club - put the Blues 2-0 up with barely 15 minutes gone.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, making his first start since arriving from Lokomotiv Moscow, was the provider on both occasions.

Steven Pienaar's brilliant low drive to make it three was the highlight of a first half to remember for the Evertonians inside Goodison Park.

Jo scored late on after AEK went down to ten men with the result thrusting Everton to the top of Group I ahead of a trip to BATE Borisov in two weeks' time.

But they will travel to Eastern Europe without Louis Saha after he was dismissed in added time for raising his hand to Juanfran.

Sylvain Distin scores his first goal for EvertonSylvain Distin celebrates his first goal for Everton

The busy South African threatend early on when he saw a left foot strike palmed around the post by keeper Sebastian Saja.

And the resultant corner saw skipper Yobo rise unmarked at the far post to easily head home a tenth minute opener.

Just over five minutes later, it got even better. Uefa's experimental extra assistant referee advised the main official Mr Malek to award Everton a corner after a cross was contested and Distin eventually prodded home an untidy second to open his account for the Toffees.

It took 20 minutes for the Greeks to muster an effort on goal and when captain Pantelis Kafes did fire in a long range shot, Tim Howard wasn't troubled.

Steven PienaarSteven Pienaar rifles in the Blues' third goal

Soon it was Everton back on the offensive though, trying to expose aerial susceptibility in the Athens back line; Jo's looping header was just over the bar mid-way through the half.

Early sub Tamandani Nsaliwala had Howard a little more concerned half an hour in with a rising drive but then another Jo header was inches wide for the dominant hosts.

AEK continued to offer very little and Pienaar took full advantage by rifling a low shot into the corner from 25 yards in the 37th minute. 3-0.

Nacho Scocco tried to hit back straight away but his free-kick was straight at Howard.

David MoyesDavid Moyes surveys the action

With Everton coasting and after new signing Lucas Neill had been paraded to the fans, Leon Osman came on at the break for Tim Cahill and soon there was another reason to be cheerful as Yakubu emerged for the bench for an extended run-out with almost 40 minutes of the second half to play.

Soon, a bad night for AEK got worse when Carlos Araujo was sent off with 35 minutes left following a petulant kick on Distin.

After that the game was effectively over as a contest and Pienaar, Jo, Distin, Jack Rodwell and Osman could all have added to the scoreline in the second half.

There was even the chance to rest Pienaar with a quarter of the game left, Saha's introduction meaning there would be three strikers on the pitch for the final portion of the game.

The Frenchman could have put the icing on the cake late on but somehow fired over from point blank range after a typical surge to the byline from Baines.

The result was rounded off in the 82nd minute when Jo swivelled in the box and beat Saja with only the late dismissal of Saha souring the evening.



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