Goodison skipper is hero and villain as lowly Everton lose a frenetic Europa League group clash that exploded with furore
RONALD KOEMAN edged ever closer to the sack on a night of madness at Goodison.
Bertrand Traore’s winner just seven minutes after Ashley Williams’ equaliser left Everton rock bottom of Group E with just one point from three games so far.
The Dutch boss’ decision to rest Wayne Rooney and several more first-team regulars could not have backfired more spectacularly.
Rooney spent the 15th anniversary of his wonder strike against Arsenal — the goal that launched his glittering career — shaking hands in the hospitality boxes.
And he sat stony-faced next to his dad, Thomas, as Everton’s crisis deepened.
The official word was Roo was rested in preparation for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Koeman made five changes and his decision to mix things up blew up in his face as his reshuffled team were all over the place.
Lyon cashed in to take the lead after just six minutes.
The French side had clearly not come looking for just a point as full-back Marcelo charging into the Everton box. And it was a stonewall penalty as defender Mason Holgate dived in to bring down the Brazilian.
Nabil Fekir — whose stunning free kick earned Lyon a last-gasp victory over Monaco at the weekend — again showed his class by blasting the ball into the corner, even though Jordan Pickford guessed right with his dive.
It could have been 2-0 inside ten minutes but Williams showed Holgate how to time a challenge by whipping the ball off Memphis Depay’s toes when the former Manchester United man was through on goal.
It took Everton more than half an hour to finally give their long-suffering fans something to cheer about.
Their most threatening players, Tom Davies and Kevin Mirallas, combined cleverly but the Belgian winger’s low shot was well saved by Anthony Lopes.
Lyon continued to look as if they could double their lead at any moment — and they almost did so when Davies got a head to Depay’s free-kick and breathed a huge sigh of relief as it rattled the crossbar before bouncing to safety.
Koeman’s half-time blast almost got the desired response as his team came out breathing fire for the second half.
But that boiled over as Williams sparked a vicious brawl by throwing himself at Lopes — making no attempt to play the ball — and sending the Lyon goalkeeper crashing into advertising hoardings.
Lyon players, led by former Chelsea midfielder Traore, rushed to confront the Everton skipper and it degenerated into a mass punch-up.
Incredibly, Williams escaped with a yellow card from feeble Dutch referee Bass Nijuis.
That all blew up in the 65th minute and just four minutes later Williams levelled with a bullet header from a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross.
But Traore backheeled his 72nd-minute winner to heap more heat on Koeman.