The Everton squad had more than enough reasons to celebrate on Twitter after Romelu Lukaku’s hat-trick fired them to an emphatic 4-1 win over Young Boys in the first-leg of their Europa League last-32 tie at the Stade de Suisse.
Young Boys opened the scoring after 10 minutes through Guillaume Hoarau’s fantastic long-range strike, but Lukaku responded 14 minutes later with a headed effort from Gareth Barry’s chipped ball in from the left.
Seamus Coleman put the visitors ahead soon after when Steven Naismith centred a pass for the right-back to slide home, before Barry teed up Lukaku for a second time in the 39th-minute with a deflected cross to give Everton a two-goal advantage going into the break.
The Belgian striker then completed his hat-trick just before the hour after breaking free to slot past the Swiss side’s goalkeeper, with Roberto Martinez’s side now in a comfortable position ahead of next week’s second-leg at Goodison Park.
For Lukaku, the performance was much-needed after the former Chelsea forward came in for criticism earlier this week for declaring that he hoped to leave for a "top club", with Martinez moved to defend his star man’s commitment at the final whistle.
"It's never an issue. Rom was delighted to commit himself to Everton," the manager told Sky Sports. "He loves playing for Everton, and I think he showed that today.”
Brilliant performance from the lads.— Ross Barkley (@RBarkley20) February 19, 2015
Great result today. We keep dreaming. do not worry about my injury, I'm fine— Bryan Oviedo (@Bryan_Oviedo) February 19, 2015