Everton were thrashed 5-1 by Atalanta in the Europa League at a less-than-half-full Goodison Park.
The Toffees had already been eliminated before the game but caretaker manager David Unsworth selected a strong side featuring Wayne Rooney, Kevin Mirallas and Ashley Williams.
The Italian visitors went ahead after 12 minutes, midfielder Bryan Cristante converting from close range after Ashley Williams’ weak clearance.
With just 17,431 people watching, Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles saved Alejandro Gomez’s penalty and follow-up early in the second half but Atalanta doubled their lead through Cristante’s second.
Sandro Ramirez scored his first goal for the Toffees to cut the deficit but substitute Robin Gosens’ well-struck dipping volley beat Robles before Danish striker Andreas Cornelius’ brace made it worse as Atalanta sealed qualification to the knockout stage.
Robles saves Everton from total humiliation
When Cristante struck the opener, it was the 16th time Everton had conceded first in their past 18 games.
No wonder the small crowd present barely groaned. With summer signing Michael Keane again struggling throughout and Williams slow and clumsy, only second-choice goalkeeper Robles’ heroics prevented an even more humiliating scoreline.
He saved Gomez’s penalty after Williams’ wild challenge on Cristante and acrobatically kept out Martin de Roon’s goal-bound header.
Ramirez’s goal prompted an improved spell from Everton, with 19-year-old midfielder Beni Baningime leading the attempted revival.
But three Atalanta goals from the 86th minute completed a miserable night for the hosts as the Italians secured their first away victory of the season.
Worst performance in 21 years – the statistics
- Everton suffered the heaviest home defeat for an English club in the Uefa Cup/Europa League since March 1996 (Nottingham Forest 1-5 Bayern Munich).
- Everton have won just a point in the Europa League this term; only one English club has picked up as few from their opening five group games in either the Champions League or Europa League (Blackburn in 1995-96).
- Everton have now conceded two or more goals in eight straight games in all competitions. The last time that happened was part of a nine-match run from April to September 1994.
It was only the 27th time in Everton’s history they have conceded five or more goals at home.