Europa League: Wolfsburg 0-2 Everton

Everton are through to the Europa League knockout stage as Group H winners after victory at Wolfsburg.

A 1-1 draw in the other group game between Krasnodar and Lille meant the Toffees progressed regardless of the result in Germany.

Three points ensured top spot, however, as Romelu Lukaku powered home before half-time after Wolfsburg’s Ivan Perisic had a goal ruled out.

Kevin Mirallas sealed victory in the second half with a goal on the break.

Everton, four points ahead of Wolfsburg at the top of the group, progress to the last 32 with a game to spare as they look to secure a first European trophy since 1985.

Both sets of players went into the game unaware of the scoreline in the group’s other fixture, which kicked off one hour earlier.

Each side knew, however, that a win would guarantee qualification and that might have played its part in a frenetic start.

Wolfsburg, with eight wins from their last nine games, were immediately on the offensive as Perisic lashed into the side-netting while Aaron Hunt drew a full-stretch save out of Tim Howard.

Sylvain Distin hit the bar with a downward header between those chances but Wolfsburg should have been ahead midway through the half, when Perisic was wrongly ruled offside when he stabbed home from close range.

It was a let-off for Everton, and a crucial one, as they hit Wolfsburg on the break just before half-time.

Distin’s header aside, the visitors had barely threatened in the first 45 minutes but snatched the lead when Lukaku received a pass from Kevin Mirallas, outmuscled two defenders and ran through on goal before finishing calmly.

Knowing that defeat would leave them needing at least a draw in their final game against Lille, Wolfsburg again pressured the Everton defence in the second half.

The hosts were again denied when former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner had a header ruled out for offside, but also Everton looked dangerous on the break – though Aiden McGeady somehow contrived to sidefoot over when presented with an open goal.

However, Everton wrapped up the win with another breakaway goal as Lukaku sent Mirallas away and the forward confidently slotted home.

Read more at BBC Sport