Everton's passage into the last 16 of the Uefa Cup could not have been much easier. Justifiably pleased with themselves after returning from Norway with a 2-0 lead last week, David Moyes's team dismissed any notion that their progress might not be comfortable with a performance that at times bordered on a stroll. Ayegbeni Yakubu led the way with a hat-trick, Andy Johnson scoring his first goal for a month and adding another close to the end; Brann looked like a side still in close-season hibernation.
Given that it took Everton until Yakubu's 35th-minute opener to muster a single shot, the final tally had been hard to predict. Brann might even have gone in front, which could have set the night on a quite different path. Yet once they had fallen behind, conceding a second five minutes later, the Norwegians folded rapidly.
Moyes admitted he was tempted to give some of his regular starters the night off with the tie seemingly only Everton's to lose but in the end he dared not take the risk. "I think the first half-hour, when the game was tight, showed I was right to do so," he said.
In the event, after Yakubu had lashed the ball in from 12 yards following a clever flick from Tim Cahill, the angled shot Johnson then placed beyond the fully stretched reach of goalkeeper Hakon Opdal suddenly made Everton's progress to a meeting with Fiorentina in the last 16 straightforward.
It was hard on the Brann fans, who had travelled from Bergen in numbers. Moments before, they had seen their team almost go ahead from a low free-kick that Thorstein Helsted was close to prodding into the net.
When Yakubu, fed by Stephen Pienaar, wrongfooted two defenders before stroking in his second goal early in the second half, a wide-margin victory was clearly there for the taking so there was understandable delight among the visiting fans when the next goal was theirs, although it was embarrassing for Tim Howard, who failed to move as Petter Vaagen Moen's 25-yard free kick zipped past him into the net.
It was not long, however, before Mikel Arteta's deflected shot increased Everton's lead and when Yakubu completed his hat-trick, stabbing in from close range, Moyes could start to enjoy it. Johnson added a sixth in stoppage time with a vicious swerving shot that established Everton's record win in Europe.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Valente; Arteta, Cahill (Fernandes, h-t), Carsley (Hibbert, h-t), Pienaar; Johnson, Yakubu (Anichebe, 73). Substitutes not used: Baines, Vaughan, Osman, Wessels (gk).
SK Brann (4-4-2): Opdal; Dahl, Bjarnason (Karadas, 65), Sigurdsson, Hanstveit; Solli, Bakke, El-Fakiri (Huselklepp, 60), Moen; Helstad, Demba-Nyren (Winters, 70). Substitutes not used: Guntveit, Einarsson, Thwaite, Udjus (gk).
Referee: N Ivanov (Russia).Reuse content