Everton, Milan advance to join Arsenal in Europa League draw


Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson during the English Premier League soccer match. (Dave Thompson/AP)

GENEVA — Starting his first game after a 45 million pound ($57 million) transfer, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from 45 metres to ensure Everton advanced to the Europa League group stage on Thursday.

Sigurdsson struck less than 15 seconds into the second half to bring Everton level on 1-1 at Hajduk Split and advance from the playoff round with a 3-1 victory on aggregate. The Iceland midfielder completed his move from Swansea last week.

AC Milan had a more comfortable evening to book its place in the 48-team group-stage draw on Friday in Monaco.

Leading 6-0 from the first leg last week, Milan won 1-0 in Macedonia against Shkendija.

Former European champions had contrasting fortunes.

Marseille, the 1993 Champions League winner, beat Domzale 3-1 to advance 4-1 on aggregate.

Red Star Belgrade, the 1991 European champion, beat visiting Krasnodar 2-1 to advance having scored more goals away from home with the two-leg series tied at 4-4.

However, four-time European champion Ajax was ousted from both UEFA competitions in August.

Transferring to the Europa League playoffs after elimination in the Champions League third qualifying round, Ajax lost at Rosenborg 3-2 after a 1-0 loss in the home leg.

Coach Roberto Mancini avoided an early exit for his Zenit St. Petersburg team. The 2008 UEFA Cup winner needed extra time to beat Utrecht 2-0 and overturn a one-goal loss from the first leg.

Dynamo Kyiv, which also moved across from the Champions League, advanced beating Maritimo 3-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal, Lazio and Villarreal are among clubs which had direct entry to the 48-team group-stage draw in the top-seeded pot.

They are joined by Lyon, which hosts the final on May 16.

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