Everton joined the ranks of chastened Premier League sides to fail to reach the quarter finals of European competition as they were thumped 5-2 by Dynamo Kiev.
The Blues travelled to the Ukrainian capital with a 2-1 lead from the first leg but also with the knowledge that they would likely need to cancel out Oleg Gusev's away goal from a week ago if they were to have a realistic chance of progressing.
Romelu Lukaku grabbed that all-important goal just before the half-hour mark with a beautifully finished equaliser that restored Everton's aggregate advantage but a defensive collapse shortly thereafter tilted the tie irrevocably in Dynamo's favour and Roberto Martinez's side couldn't recover.
Indeed, it would get worse, with Gusev weighing in with the fourth goal, before Phil Jagielka scored with eight minutes left to make it 6-4 on aggregate
but it would amount to scant consolation in the final reckoning.
With Kevin Mirallas out injured with a dead leg and Aiden McGeady presumably not deemed fit enough to play having just returned to full training, Roberto Martinez handed Christian Atsu his first start since the home game against Krasnodar and restored Gareth Barry to the XI at the expense of Darron Gibson.
John Stones made the trip having recovered from a stomach virus but, in a decision that should come back to haunt the manager, Antolin Alcaraz continued in central defence alongside Phil Jagielka. Steven Naismith replaced Arouna Kone up front playing in the forward three with Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. Leon Osman dropped back to the bench as well despite his impressive display against Newcastle last Sunday.
Though Gusev would have the first opportunity when headed over the crossbar, Everton quickly grew into the game and were looking the more dangerous side. A succession of crosses from the right flank couldn't find a blue shirt in the middle, though, and it was Kiev who took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 21st minute as Andriy Yarmolenko was allowed to cut in from the right flank and smash a shot into the top left corner from 25 yards.
Four minutes later it was so very nearly 1-1 when Barkley sprung the offside trap and hammered a shot across the goal but it cannoned off the far post. And in what would prove to be a warning sign that would go unheeded, Alcaraz badly mis-judged a bouncing ball that he allowed to go over his head and Tim Howard had to make a sprawling one-handed save to deny Yarmolenko.
The game was almost half an hour old when Lukaku struck, taking down a ricochet from Atsu's shot and then curling a wonderful shot around the 'keeper and inside the post. 1-1 and Everton were back in front. Lukaku and Naismith almost combined to double the Blues' lead on the night but the Scot's first-time shot was saved before awful defending allowed Dynamo to first level the aggregate scores and then take the lead.
Another ball sailed over Alcaraz's head and Lukasz Teodorczyk rammed it through Tim Howard's legs 10 minutes before the break. Two minutes later it was 3-1 on the night. Miguel Veloso, the man who had helped to put the Blues out of Europe while playing for Sporting Lisbon, took advantage of both Everton defenders being beaten in the air in their own box to lash a deflected shot into the net from distance.
A single goal at that point would have put Martinez's side through on away goals but their defensive frailties would undermine the best efforts of their attackers. Barkley crashed a stunning shot off the woodwork in the second half, Atsu forced a terrific one-handed stop from Oleksandr Shovkovskyi and Lukaku would help take Everton's tally of shots to 18 on the night but the Blues were undone by more calamitous work at the back that ended with Gusev firing the ball in off the post after Seamus Coleman had blocked his initial shot.
And Antunes would put the game beyond the visitors with one more impressive strike, a dipping piledriver that flew over Howard from 25-30 yards out. There was also time for Yarmolenko to strike the bar himself with another fiercely-driven effort.
Jagielka scored with an impressive but rare header off an 82nd-minute corner but Everton were unable to stage a late rally to fray the nerves of the boisterous home crowd.
Martinez refused to blame defensive errors for the defeat – thereby ducking the inquest into the managerial decision that saw Alcaraz preferred to the superior Stones – choosing instead to laud some impressive long-range finishing from Sergey Rebrov's outfit. Two of Kiev's goals were spectacular but the three that came from defensive calamity were crucial in dumping out of the tournament that has been the manager's priority all season.
It leaves Everton to focus on doing enough to preserve their Premier League status but the question marks over Martinez's long-term future at Goodison Park will multiply in the wake of a sorry night in Ukraine.
Roberto Martinez rang some changes for the second leg in Ukraine, with Steven Naismith, Gareth Barry and Christian Atsu in the starting XI. Leon Osman dropped back to the bench with Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone. John Stones was apparently well again but Antolin Alcaraz continued in central defence alongside Phil Jagielka. Aiden McGeady travelled with the squad but was not selected after only two full training sessions.
With a massive and vocal 70,000 crowd, the match had the atmosphere of a major European game. Everton kicked off but the home side soon built the first attack, a deep cross that Gusev headed over. Antunes was next to fire across goal off a throw-in.
Everton responded, however, Barkley driving in a low shot, scuffed a little, and Naismith trying to release Lukaku down the channel. The physicality of the game may have surprised the Blues, with Barkley in the wars, Naismith scrapping and Jagielka getting caught by Sydorchuk. That saw some sustained pressure from Everton, with blocked shots from Barkley, Naismith then McCarthy, Everton looking anything but intimidated by the noisy locals.
Baines was forced to concede the first corner, taken short and defended away. Atsu had the chance to set Lukaku free but his pass was intercepted too easily, which led to a period of Kiev pressure.
A superb strike from Yarmolenko finally broke the deadlock, as he was given room to run at the Everton defence as Barry tried in vain to block him and Howard stood motionless, watching the ball fly past him to turn the tie on its head, because of that early away goal in the first leg.
Barkley got free on a great ball from Naismith and scampered off, taking it perhaps one touch too far and cutting it across goal to strike the far post, Atsu unable to grasp the follow-up. Kiev were right back up the other end, a horrible bouncing ball beating Alcaraz and Jagielka, gifting Yarmelenko another glorious chance that Howard did well to parry behind for another corner.
Atsu's shot in was parried and this time Romelu Lukaku was very alert to pick up the blocked ball and curl a wonderful strike into the top corner, his NINTH goal in the competition, and the best, most vital so far. A tremendous response that gives Everton a huge fillip in the game.
Naismith was next to get forward off a great ball by Lukaku and won Everton's first corner, delivered too deep but wining a second that Baines put into the danger area, but it was headed out and a surging attack saw another defensive mistake at the back, and a poor clearance from Atsu that was returned with interest to the back post were it bounced off one attacker and fell easily for Teodorczyk who smashed it home with Howard again nowhere.
And seconds later it was a stunning 3-1, Jagielka heading out nicely for Velso hammer home a shot that deflected off Coleman's thigh and over Howard into the Everton net in a sequence of horrific Everton defending that may well have lost them the tie.
The Blues were visibly stunned by the turn of events, with the home side now in complete command of the tie, and of the possession stats, their determination to take advantage of the defensive errors to blow Everton away in a tumultuous first half that raised then stunningly crushed Royal Blue hopes of being the only Premier League club in the quarterfinals.
The early exchanges after the break were scrappy with Everton trying to press forwards but getting called for too much physicality, the Ukrainians doing an effective job of winning these decisions. Everton tried to play possession football through the middle and Naismith's ball for Lukaku almost came off, but the Blues would need to be more direct to catch out the determined home side.
But more horrific defending and pathetic goalkeeping saw a fourth given up far too easily, Gusev getting two bites of the cherry and poking in a rebound off Coleman to effectively end the tie for Everton with over half-an-hour left.
Atsu did lash in a tremendous goalbound shot but Shovkovsky pulled off a a brilliant save to deny him. Baines looped his corner way too deep and Kiev were on the attack again.
Barkley tried his best to do a Yarmolenko with a superb strike but it smashed into the frame of the goal again. At the other end, Veloso drove wide with a fifth goal on the cards, as Martinez decided to make a double change. Osman and Kone replaced Atsu and Naismith.
Lukaku looked to have powered into the Kiev area but is clearly impeded; however, it's given the other way by Ref Deniz Aytekin. But Everton were showing signs of life, Osman the next to be clearly impeded, but again, no penalty.
At the other end, Teodorczyk got behind Alcaraz but this time Howard, who had advanced, stood firm to parry over.
If it wasn't bad enough, another unbelievable strike, this time from Antunes in acres of space with no-one pressing him, bamboozled Howard and underlined a sad and sorry night for the Blues to make it 5-1. Everton "just playing for pride, now," as they say... Really?
Yarmolenko came close to making it 6, lashing a vicious shot off the face of the bar, as the Blues tried to play out the last 10 minutes with damage limitation as their priority after being roundly humbled by the kind of superior opposition may believed would show up the almost criminal defensive frailties Roberto Martinez has made such a central part of the team.
Jagielka scored a lovely header off a Baines corner, their fourth of ten in a goal-crazy tie. Osman won a dangerous free-kick with some clever footwork and Baines forced a save at the second attempt off the free-kick.
Osman tried a shot that was saved easily. Barkley played in Lukaku but he could not beat Shovkovskiy with his low shot. Lukalku tried another low shot in added time but it was totally lacking any power. Besic picked up a silly late yellow card before the sad but all too inevitable end to Everton's European adventure.
Everton hope to be the only British club to make it into the quarter finals of European competition this season as they take on Dynamo Kiev.
The Blues will kick off with a 2-1 lead from the first-leg thanks to Romelu Lukaku's late penalty at Goodison Park a week ago and Roberto Martinez has intimated that simply trying to keep a clean sheet wouldn't be a prudent strategy in what could be an intimidating atmosphere in the in the 70,000-seater Olympic National Sports Complex.
The manager said at yesterday's pre-match press conference that he will be looking to treat the match like a home game while Gareth Barry, a potential starter after sitting out the win over Newcastle because of a domestic suspension, says that Everton will likely need to score and thereby cancel out Oleg Gusev's away goal if they are to progress.
With Kevin Mirallas out injured with a dead leg and Aaron Lennon ineligible, Martinez will need to look elsewhere in the squad for natural width. Aiden McGeady has recovered from a knee injury but has only been back in full training for a couple of days but will be assessed prior to the game for inclusion in the starting XI.
Christian Atsu, meanwhile, has experience of playing in the Europa League for the Blues after starting the game in Krasnodar, albeit with mixed results, and he is fully fit and coming off an assist for the third goal last Sunday.
John Stones is expected to be fully fit after only being named on the subs' bench against Newcastle because of the lingering effects of a virus and could come back in at the expense of Antolin Alcaraz.
Martinez has voiced concerns over the playing surface in Kiev but admitted that it will be the same for two "technical teams". Leighton Baines, meanwhile, says that he expecting this leg to be "night and day" from the first leg at Goodison in terms of Dynamo's approach to the game.
Kiev's manager, Sergey Rebrov, meanwhile, says that he has told his players that his troubled country is relying on them to get the result that will push them through to the next phase of the competition.
“Any success for Dynamo is success for the whole of Ukraine,” he said last week, referencing the border conflict with Russia and Ukraine's political instability in recent years. “It's a difficult time for our country. I'm always telling the players that football for some people is a brief breath of fresh air. I hope they understand that.”
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