Romelu Lukaku responded to recent fan criticism with a first Everton hat-trick in a fine Europa League round of 32 first-leg win over Young Boys.
The striker angered supporters earlier this month by telling a newspaper that he hoped to leave for a “top club”.
He struck with a header, a right-foot shot and a left-foot shot after Young Boys scored through Guillaume Hoarau.
Seamus Coleman scored Everton’s second, while Hoarau missed a second-half penalty after John Stones was sent off.
Since making a permanent £28m move to Everton from Chelsea in July, Lukaku has struggled to reach the levels of form he showed during a loan spell at Goodison Park last season.
But he had a prolific evening against a Young Boys side who struggled with their offside trap all evening, and could have had at least two more goals after completing his hat-trick.
Uli Forte’s side could point to the fact that two of Everton’s three first-half goals looked to be offside.
But Everton deserve immense credit for adapting so well to the synthetic surface at the Stade de Suisse, having spent time in the build-up to the match training on the artificial pitch of rugby league side Widnes Vikings.
They had to come back from a goal down as Young Boys, who had won their previous seven European games, scored with their first shot on target amid poor defending.
Raphael Nuzzolo broke down the left and played a square pass to former Paris St-Germain striker Hoarau, who was not closed down by Phil Jagielka and curled a right-foot shot beyond keeper Tim Howard from 25 yards.
Home keeper Yvon Mvogo made a fine double save to stop Lukaku’s shot on the turn and Ross Barkley’s follow-up, but perhaps should have kept out Everton’s equaliser.
Gareth Barry chipped a ball in from the left, and Lukaku got in front of centre-back Steve von Bergen to direct a downward header that bounced inside the post despite Mvogo getting a hand to it.
Everton were in front four minutes later thanks to a fine move, although Steven Naismith looked offside as he collected Barkley’s return pass before playing the ball through the keeper’s legs for Coleman to turn in at the far post.
The visitors were soon two goals clear as Bryan Oviedo’s back heel set up Barry to deliver a deflected cross that Lukaku touched in from three yards, as Young Boys appealed in vain again for offside.
Either side of that goal, Everton could have conceded, with Howard making a double save from Hoarau and Nuzzolo before James McCarthy made a remarkable clearance with his knee to turn Sekou Sanogo’s goalbound shot on to the post.
Lukaku broke away to complete his hat-trick shortly before the hour mark, coolly lofting the ball beyond Mvogo.
Everton’s night was soured when Stones received the first red card of his career, dragging down Hoarau and conceding a penalty after being beaten for pace by the France striker.
But Hoarau lifted his penalty well over the crossbar and it was the visitors who should have scored further goals, with Lukaku turning substitute Luke Garbutt’s cross wide from five yards, and then seeing a shot saved by Mvogo after being put through.
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