It was a night of Belgian delight as Everton sailed through to the last 16 of the Europa League, leaving them the only English team in the competition with Liverpool and Tottenham bowing out.
Martinez’s men headed into the second leg with a healthy 4-1 lead and didn’t have any plans to let it slip from beneath them naming a strong side – stronger than perhaps most fans thought.
Everton had an early chance just over two minutes in when Romelu Lukaku broke free from his marker but the linesman had his flag up for offside. Steven Stutter had the first chance for the Swiss outfit but struggled to control his shot and struck it miles over the Gwlady’s Street end crossbar.
The start to the game was pedestrian and Young Boys saw more than their fair share of the ball but didn’t produce anything to really worry the Blues.
As in the first leg, Young Boys took the lead in the thirteenth minute through Sekou Sanogo Junior’s volley which Howard failed to keep out, despite doing well to deal with the first shot from Guillaume Hoarau. Everton nearly responded instantly when the ball came out to Darron Gibson, but he saw his shot blocked.
The Swiss side nearly doubled their lead twenty minutes in when the ball was played to Hoarau but Seamus Coleman made a great recovery to play the ball out for a corner. The corner was swung in leaving Everton all over the place but the ball eventually came to Phil Jagielka who was able to clear it away.
Young Boys continued to pass the ball around with confidence knowing that with another the deficit would be down to only one. Gonzale Zarate’s overhead kick and Raphael Nuzzolo’s attempted header were blocked by Howard.
Everton’s first came when Romelu Lukaku found Steven Naismith with a clever flick in the box and the Scot won a penalty when he was bundled over by goalkeeper Marco Wolfli. There was no controversy this time as Lukaku stepped up to the spot and placed his penalty in the bottom left hand corner, becoming the first Belgian to score four goals over a two-legged tie.
The striker grabbed his and Everton’s second after a brilliant run from Luke Garbutt who sprinted his way down the left hand side and picked Lukaku out perfectly. All the Belgian had left to do was volley the ball into the back of the net.
It sounded as if Everton had scored a third when cheers erupted but it was simply to celebrate the news of Liverpool’s departure from the competition.
Kevin Mirallas made it three after the pass of the night from Darron Gibson. The Belgian drove towards goal and no-one could catch up with him as he slid the ball past the keeper.
Lukaku wasn’t going to get a hat-trick in this leg, as he left the pitch to a standing ovation just a few minutes after the break being replaced by Arouna Kone.
The Blues became a little more pedestrian in their play in the second half although they did have chances to extend their more than already healthy lead. Kone and Mirallas had the majority of the opportunities to score but just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Although Young Boys had their chances too, Scott Sutter had the perfect chance to put the ball into the box where numerous yellow shirts were waiting but Muhammed Besic was there to clear it away and kick start Everton on their way towards goal. Substitute Leon Osman headed home Coleman’s cross to make it 4-1 but it was ruled out.
The 1,700 travelling Swiss fans were a credit to their club, singing and chanting continuously through the game despite the hefty scoreline. The way they were waving their scarfs around in the air, you would have thought it was them in the lead. They were even applauded by a section of the home supporters.
Despite Everton’s poor league form, they continued to impress in Europe with a brilliant team performance and are England’s only representative in the last 16 and will find out their fate in the draw which takes place at the Europa League headquarters in Switzerland tomorrow at noon.