Everton 2, Dynamo Kiev 1:
Romelu Lukaku praised Everton’s spirit as they came from a goal down against Dynamo Kiev to win their Europa League last-16 first leg 2-1 last night.
The Belgian’s scuffed penalty secured the win, with Steven Naismith having cancelled out Oleg Gusev’s opener.
“It’s going to be difficult over there. We are happy with the performance, we worked well after the first half and were unlucky to concede. We reacted well, kept going and could have scored three goals to be safe.
“We now focus on the league where we’re not doing so well.”
The Toffees once again produced a Europa League performance in contrast to their domestic displays.
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 fine 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 Premier League this term but 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.
Manager Roberto Martinez said: “We started edgy and there was anxiety and we were cagey, but we were playing a good side.
“We scored a very good goal, and then you saw momentum carrying us through.”
EVERTON: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Garbutt, McCarthy, Barkley (Osman 74), Barry, Naismith, Lukaku, Mirallas (Kone 63).
DYNAMO KIEV: Shovkovskiy, Vida, Dragovic, Danilo Silva, Antunes, Veloso (Yevhen Chumak 84), Sydorchuk, Gusev (Kravets 76), Buyalsky (Garmash 67), Yarmolenko, Mbokani. 14.
Ref: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain).
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