EVERTON once again produced a Europa League performance in contrast to their domestic displays as Romelu Lukaku’s late penalty secured them a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in their last-16 first leg against Dynamo Kiev.
The Toffees started the contest at Goodison Park poorly and fell behind in the 14th minute to an Oleg Gusev finish, but they improved markedly as the first half went on and equalised in the 39th as Lukaku’s strength allowed him to set up a Steven Naismith strike.
Roberto Martinez’s side did their best to sustain the momentum after the break, but it looked as if they would be frustrated in their attempts to add another goal. However, a handball from Danilo Silva eight minutes from time saw referee Carlos Velasco Carballo award a spot-kick which Lukaku converted, making him Everton’s all-time record European scorer with seven goals and sealing the advantage in the tie for his side.
Martinez’s men have been struggling in the Barclays Premier League this term but they continue to impress in continental action and will fancy their chances of emerging from next week’s second leg in Kiev with a quarter-final place booked.
They are the only British club left in the competition, and 24 hours after Chelsea’s dramatic exit from the Champions League, this result also lifted some of the gloom that has been surrounding the overall performance of Premier League and Scottish Premiership sides in Europe this term.
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS
Uefa Europa League Round of 16 First Legs: Club Brugge 2 Besiktas 1; Dnipro 1 Ajax 0; Everton 2 Dynamo Kiev 1; Fiorentina 1 Roma 1; Napoli 3 Dinamo Moscow 1; Villarreal 1 Sevilla 3; Wolfsburg 3 Inter Milan 1; Zenit St Petersburg 2 Torino 0
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