After a particularly gloomy week for the British clubs in Europe's major competition, with Manchester City and Arsenal both losing at home in the Champions League, last night's Europa League last-32 ties offered little in the way of comfort for British #Football fans. #Liverpool, Spurs and Celtic all went out to their European opponents, with only Everton left to fly the flag in the later stages. They will now play Dynamo Kiev over two legs in the last-sixteen.
After an uplifting 4-1 away victory in Switzerland last week, with Romelu Lukaku in particularly sharp form, Everton were thought to be unlikely to have many problems in finishing the job off at Goodison Park yesterday. Despite the minor inconvenience of an early goal for BSC Young Boys through Sekou Sanogo Junior, they replied in kind with three strikes before the interval to complete their resounding aggregate success 7-2. Lukaku feasted on the visitors' defence yet again, with two more to add to his season's tally (one from the penalty spot), and fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas completed the scoring three minutes before the break for a 3-1 win on the night.
Roberto Martinez's troops now face Kiev, with the second leg due to take place in the Ukraine. Their manager was philosophical about both the draw and the scheduling when he heard the news, clearly disappointed to not be drawn away for the first leg "but that's not in our control." Clearly considering both the side his men will face and the tricky trip to a country with many issues at present, he added that it was "what we expected - a tough draw."
The Toffees fared much better than the rest of the Brits in action yesterday though, with their fellow Merseysiders, Liverpool going out on penalties to Besiktas in Turkey. After seeming to be in control of their destiny in a quiet first-half, they came under increased pressure after the break and finally succumbed to a wonder strike from Tolgay Arslan on 72 minutes. They were fortunate to survive without further damage through the rest of the second-half and also extra-time. That led to another penalty shoot-out in the same stadium in Istanbul where they famously clinched their last Champions League trophy victory, all of ten years ago. This time there was to be no happy ending for Liverpool though, as Dejan Lovren's miss from the spot sent them out 5-4 on penalties.
Spurs faced Fiorentina away knowing that they needed to score to have any chance of progressing to the next round, after a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. They stayed in the tie until the second-half, when the Italian club scored twice through Mario Gomez and Mohamed Salah to win 2-0 and go through 3-1 on aggregate. Mauricio Pochettino will now face a tough few days to rally his side ahead of the weekend's Capital One Cup final against London rivals Chelsea.
Celtic and Inter Milan produced one of the most exciting, if error strewn games last week to draw 3-3 in Glasgow. That was unlikely to be reproduced at the San Siro, as the pragmatic Italians kept the game tight and nicked it 1-0 with a late goal from Fredy Guarin. Celtic's efforts had been hampered by the sending off of Virgil van Dijk in the first-half. Inter went through 4-3 on aggregate.