Paris (AFP) – Arsenal reached the Europa League last 32 Thursday as Everton crashed out and Patrice Evra was red-carded for a karate kick at one of his own Marseille fans — before the match had even started.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal fought out a drab 0-0 draw with Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates but the point was enough to make sure of qualifying for the knockout round with two games to spare in Group H.
Jack Wilshere, overlooked by England manager Gareth Southgate earlier in the day, had the best chance but saw a second-half effort cleared off the line.
The result allowed the Gunners to stretch their unbeaten home run in all competitions to 16 games.
“If you can’t win the game, don’t lose it. We’re not delighted with the point, but we’ll take it,” said Wilshere.
Marseille defender Evra was sent off after launching a karate-style kick at one of his team’s own supporters before the match against Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
Former Manchester United star Evra, 36, was engaged in a heated exchange with a group of fans from an area reserved for around 500 Marseille supporters before aiming a head-high kick at one of them.
The incident immediately brought back memories of another act of kung-fu kick madness by a French footballer.
In January 1995, Eric Cantona, playing for Manchester United, launched a flying kick at a Crystal Palace supporter at Selhurst Park who had jeered him after he had been sent off.
Marseille lost the game 1-0 but stay second in Group I.
Struggling Everton crashed out after a 3-0 defeat in Lyon.
Languishing in the relegation zone in the Premier League and without a permanent manager since the sacking of Ronald Koeman last week, Everton succumbed to three second-half goals.
Bertrand Traore rounded Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock on 68 minutes in the Group E clash.
Memphis Depay then set up 19-year-old Houssem Aouar to steer in a slick second goal for the hosts on 76 minutes.
The former Manchester United winger completed the scoring himself late on after another ex-United player, Morgan Schneiderlin, was sent off for a second booking.
– AC Milan stumble –
“We’re really disappointed with the result. For nearly 70 minutes, we were nearly perfect with our game plan and created a couple of opportunities and should have scored,” said Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth.