Everton To Face Hajduk Split In Europa League

Hajduk Split stand in the way of Everton and a place in the Europa League group stage.

The Blues beat MFK Ruzomberok to clinch their place in the play-off round and were paired with Croatian side Split in Friday's draw at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.

Everton will welcome Joan Carrillo’s team to Goodison Park on Thursday 17 August, with the return clash set for Hajduk’s 34,448-capacity Stadion Poljud seven days later, on Thursday 24 August.

Hajduk Split finished third in Croatia’s top-flight last season and started their latest Europa League bid with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Bulgarians Levski Sofia in the second qualifying round.

Danish outfit Brondby were next, the Croats winning the second-leg 2-0 on Thursday night after playing out a stalemate in Scandinavia the previous week.

Split launched their 2017-18 HT Prva Liga campaign with a 3-1 victory at Lokomotiva Zagreb on 16 July and have subsequently played a further two league fixtures, drawing 2-2 with Inter Zapresic and recording a 2-1 success against Cibalia Vinkovci.

The Croatian team are competing in the Europa League for an 11th successive season, and last term fell at the play-off round following a penalty shootout defeat by Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

They last progressed beyond the play-off stage in 2010-11, when they eventually finished bottom of a group also containing Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht and AEK Athens,

Spanish manager Carrillo replaced Marijan Pusnik at the helm in December last year and is in charge of a side which includes former Portsmouth and Leicester striker Marko Futacs in its ranks.

Former Everton striker Nikica Jelavic spent five years with Hajduk at the outset of his career, before switching to Belgian team Zulte Waregem in 2007.

And another former Blue – and current West Ham boss – Slaven Bilic topped and tailed his playing career with stints at Hajduk, before getting his first taste of management during a temporary spell in charge of the side during the 2001/02 season.

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