Everton take slender first leg lead over Dynamo Kiev

Late Romelu Lukaku penalty gives homes side the edge in last 16 Europa League tie

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku  celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot during the Uefa Europa League Round of 16, first leg game against FC Dynamo Kyiv at Goodison Park. Photograph:  Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot during the Uefa Europa League Round of 16, first leg game against FC Dynamo Kyiv at Goodison Park. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

 

Everton 2 Dynamo Kyiv 1

English hopes of progress in Europe remain intact, but only just. An 82nd-minute penalty from Romelu Lukaku gave Everton a slender advantage over Dynamo Kyiv in the last 16 of the Europa League as Roberto Martinez’s team fought back from a goal down and against a tense Goodison Park crowd to preserve their chances of a place in the quarter-finals.

Lukaku’s late penalty, awarded after Danilo Silva handled Leon Osman’s cross near the by-line, was the Belgian striker’s seventh goal in European competition this season and a new club record for Everton, beating Fred Pickering’s six that had stood from the 1960s. The victory was Everton’s sixth in the Europa League this term, equalling their total for their entire domestic campaign, and reflected an impressive recovery from an inauspicious start that demonstrated the unease around the team at present.

So much for the contrast between Everton’s form in Europe and a miserable Premier League campaign; the opening 35 minutes were every bit as cumbersome as their domestic performances this season, complete with another goal conceded from a badly defended set piece. Goodison was already bemoaning the home team’s sideways passing into harmless territory by the time Oleh Gusev swept Dynamo into an early lead.

Gusev, deployed on the left of midfield, capitalised on a string of errors from Antolin Alcaraz, selected ahead of the bombed Sylvain Distin in place of the ill John Stones for reasons only Martinez can explain.

The Paraguay defender conceded possession to the visitors in central midfield and made matters worse by heading Gusev’s left-wing delivery across his own goalmouth. James McCarthy completed the mess by slicing a clearance out for a corner and then urged the irate Gwladys Street to calm down. The supporters behind Howard’s goal were right to be concerned.

Andriy Yarmolenko played the corner to the near post. Gusev spun away from Ross Barkley and McCarthy on the goalline and flicked a simple finish through Howard’s lame guard on the goal-line. It was a dreadful away goal to concede and one that raised more questions over Everton’s inability to organise themselves at set pieces under Martinez. It was also the cue for open hostility from the home crowd towards the manager’s tactics.

Alcaraz was booed by his own fans after playing another careless pass straight to a Kyiv player, retrieving possession and then sending a blind back-pass intended for Howard to Dieumerci Mbokani. Fortunately for the centre-half, the visiting striker allowed the ball to run under his foot and into Howard’s path after all.

Everton lacked urgency and someone willing to take responsibility. The notable exception was Lukaku and it was his power and commitment that dragged Martinez’s men back into the contest before half-time. The Belgium international was gifted Everton’s first chance of the night when the Dynamo goalkeeper, Olexandr Shovkovskiy, failed to deal with a long clearance from the home area and sliced the ball to Lukaku more than 40 yards from goal. The striker’s first-time shot sailed harmlessly wide.

Lukaku forced Shovkovskiy into a fine save from a 25-yard free-kick and, from the resulting corner by Everton’s impressive young left-back Luke Garbutt, Silva cleared off the line from Phil Jagielka’s back-post header. Martinez’s team finally had some momentum to their attacking play and equalised when Lukaku spun away superbly from Aleksandar Dragovic, held off three other Dynamo players and released Steven Naismith into the area. The Scotland international struck a confident finish under the Ukrainian side’s goalkeeper.

Everton maintained the pressure after the restart with Garbutt’s accurate set-pieces, Lukaku’s tireless work along the front line and Gareth Barry’s composure in central midfield ensuring Sergei Rebrov’s team were often pegged back. Naismith glanced wide from a Garbutt corner and the full-back stung Shovkovskiy’s fists with a powerful free-kick.

Martinez admitted beforehand that a first-leg lead was vital and the substitute Arouna Kone almost provided it with a header from McCarthy’s deep cross. Shovkovskiy was equal to the effort, while Mbokani and Gusev both went close for Dynamo as the contest opened up.
Guardian Service

EVERTON: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Garbutt, McCarthy, Barry, Naismit, Barkley (Osman 74 mins), Mirallas (Kone 64 mins), Lukaku . Subs not used: Joel, Gibson, Besic, Atsu, Browning. Booked: Mirallas
DYNAMO KIEV: Shovkovskiy: Vida, Dragovic, Silva, Antunes, Veloso, Sydorchuk, Gusev (Kravets 76 mins), Buyalskiy (Garmesh 67mins), Yarmolenko, Mbokani. Subs not used: Rybka, Chumak, Khacheridi, Kalitvintsev, Teodorczyk.

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