It’s been tough times for English clubs in Europe of late — Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool knocked out of European competition, with Arsenal and Manchester City also on their way out — but was Thursday any different with one last English team still in the Europa League?
[ MORE: Wed.’s UCL roundup | Tues. ]
Everton 2-1 Dynamo Kiev
Answer: Maybe so! Everton labored at times, but came out with a 2-1 victory over Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev at Goodison Park, putting themselves in a decent position to be the lone Premier League team standing in the quarterfinals of a European cup competition this season.
Oleg Gusev put the visitors ahead after 14 minutes, grabbing what could still be the deciding away goal as the tie heads back to Kiev next Thursday. Steven Naismith equalized from 12 yards out five minutes before halftime, assisted by strong hold-up play from Romelu Lukaku. The first leg looked destined to finish 1-1 before Lukaku converted a penalty kick in the 82nd minute, breaking the deadlock and inching the Toffees ahead.
Wolfsburg 3-1 Inter Milan
It’s Kevin de Bruyne’s world and we’re all just living in it. The former Chelsea midfielder scored twice (14 on the season) and assisted (21) on Wolfsburg’s other as the Bundesliga side took a commanding 3-1 lead over Inter Milan.
Inter were first on the scoreboard as Rodrigo Palacio grabbed an important away goal with five minutes on the clock. De Bruyne set up Naldo for the equalizer just before the half-hour mark, then the 23-year-old Belgian took the game over, bagging a brace 12 minutes apart just past the hour mark.
Fiorentina 1-1 Roma
Josip Ilicic struck first, putting Fiorentina 1-0 ahead in the 17th minute, slamming home a through ball from Mohamed Salah. Adem Ljajic had a penalty kick saved by Neto right on the hour mark, but Seydou Keita beat the Brazilian ‘keeper with 13 minutes still to play in regular time, equalizing on the day and making Roma slight favorites to advance ahead of the second leg in Rome.
Elsewhere in Europa League
Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 Torino
Dnipro 1-0 Ajax
Club Brugge 2-1 Besiktas
Villarreal 1-3 Sevilla
Napoli 3-1 Dinamo Moscow