Everton manager David Moyes received a double boost in the Europa League that improves his side's chances of moving to the next stage.
A battling 2-1 victory against BATE Borisov in Minsk was cause enough for celebration. However Benfica's defeat by AEK Athens was the icing on the cake.
"We're in a good position and we'd like to try and stay there. It might make some of the games easier as the campaign goes on if we can get the points early," said Moyes.
Everton are now in pole position thanks to a goal from Tim Cahill 13 minutes from time to seal their second successive victory in the group.
That completed a superb comeback with Marouane Fellaini equalising in the 68th minute to cancel out the opener from Dmitri Likhtarovich.
Given that Everton were without 10 first-team players - Joseph Yobo suffered a thigh strain on the eve of the game - it was little wonder Moyes was delighted. He was forced to play Tony Hibbert in central defence and he came through the test with flying colours.
Moyes said: "It was really pleasing as we were without so many and only have one central defender. We had no other senior players available as you could see from the bench. It was a resilient performance in the end that got us the result.
"I thought Tony Hibbert played really well. He epitomises a lot about Everton. Last season we had similar problems but it was with no centre-forwards.
"Joseph picked up a slight thigh strain in training. We don't think it's too serious.
"To win away from home in Europe is very important. We hope that our home form will help us as well."
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