Hajduk Split fans cause chaos at Everton after referee stopped play as they charged at home end with heroic steward rescuing ball-boy

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The Europa League tie between Everton and Hajduk Split was halted by crowd trouble on Thursday night.

A group of fans in the away section kicked down advertising hoardings and threw seats towards Everton fans in the Park End.

A ball boy was rescued from the melee by a quick-thinking steward as fans attacked security staff during the first-half at Goodison Park.
Play was halted for a few minutes when trouble flared, with missiles being thrown and supporters moving towards the pitch shortly after Michael Keane’s 30th-minute header had put the hosts in front.

Referee Ivan Kruzliak stopped the match and ushered both sets of players towards the dugouts.

After stewards and police had moved to bring the situation under control, the players returned to the pitch and Everton doubled their lead in the 45th minute thanks to Idrissa Gueye’s strike.

Aside from the worrying scenes in the stands, Everton will be feeling very satisfied with how this outing went ahead of next Thursday’s second leg in Croatia.

The victory was achieved without new record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was not part of the matchday squad a day after completing his £45million switch from Swansea. He was brought onto the pitch to be introduced to the crowd ahead of kick-off, waving and clapping as he received a warm reception.

The Toffees then made a lively start to the contest, with Ademola Lookman having a shot deflected behind, Wayne Rooney heading wide and Davy Klaassen shooting off-target.

Hajduk made their first real push forward in the 11th minute as Nikola Vlasic struck wide, but Everton were soon back on the attack and Klaassen just failed to make the crucial contact when he slid in to try to get on the end of Lookman’s low ball across the danger zone.

Following further efforts from Rooney and Leighton Baines, the latter burst into the area on the half-hour mark and stood up a lovely cross that Keane headed home at the back post having got above his marker, Hysen Memolla, for his first Everton goal.

Soon after, Slovakian referee Kruzliak called the players off the pitch as the melee had broken out in the away section.

With some objects being hurled, advertising boards being kicked over and some supporters almost getting on the field, stewards and police swiftly moved over to the area en masse, forming a line around the section.

The situation had calmed down sufficiently by a minute or so later for Kruzliak to allow play to continue, and Everton subsequently extended their lead just prior to the break through Gueye, who took a touch after being fed by Rooney before slotting past Dante Stipica.

Rooney sent a header wide from Cuco Martina’s cross early in the second half, before Hajduk fired a warning, Franck Ohandza unleashing a strike that Jordan Pickford pushed away.

Lookman then had a shot blocked by the foot of Stipica, although the flag was up for offside, before Pickford made two smart saves in quick succession, denying substitute Ante Erceg and Hysen Memolla.

 

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