The Guardian - And then there were none. The light went out on English football's involvement in Europe in emphatic and shambolic fashion as Everton were routed by Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Europa League.
The English Premier League side were beaten 5-2 in Kiev and lost 6-4 on aggregate.
Roberto Martinez had targeted Warsaw as salvation from a sorry domestic season but the journey derailed in Ukraine's capital. Criminally, his team went down without a fight. A truly woeful defensive display from Everton holed their prospects of a place in the quarter-finals and Sergei Rebrov's clinical side took full advantage.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Vitorino Antunes started and finished the victory in stunning style respectively, but their goals were book-ended by an appalling collapse in the heart of the visiting defence. Antolín Alcaraz, Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman chose the wrong time to allow the weakness that has undermined Everton's Premier League season to infect their European campaign.
Romelu Lukaku's eighth Europa League goal this term, plus a late Jagielka header, barely registered as consolations. The manner of Dynamo's goals also turned the spotlight onto some baffling selection decisions by the Everton manager.
Having overseen a crucial win over Newcastle United on Sunday with a 4-3-3 formation that enabled Leon Osman and Darron Gibson to bring much-needed improvement in Everton's passing in midfield, Martinez reverted to his favoured 4-2-3-1 and moved both midfielders to the bench.
His argument for restoring Gareth Barry is that the veteran midfielder needs games amid his latest Premier League suspension. The counter-argument is he should be playing his strongest team to win.
Dynamo first took control of the tie with a superb individual goal, albeit one that benefited from the space vacated on the left of Everton's midfield with Steven Naismith, Ross Barkley and that rare starter, Christian Atsu, pushed up in support of Lukaku. Naismith was easily taken out of the equation by Danilo Silva's pass from right-back into Andriy Yarmolenko, and the poster boy of Dynamo Kiev needed no invitation to cut inside from the flank. The Ukraine international stepped over the ball, moved inside Barry, and swept a sweet left-foot finish beyond Tim Howard from 20 yards. Everton's goalkeeper did not move.
Martinez's men reacted well, initially. The otherwise anonymous Naismith and Barkley combined to almost bring the visitors level moments after Yarmolenko's strike, when the Scot released the England international clear of the Dynamo defence. Barkley's low shot beat Olexandr Shovkovskiy in the home goal but cannoned off the base of the far post.
Everton regained a hold on qualification in fine style, however, when Lukaku showed that Yarmolenko was not the only commanding forward with a powerful left-foot on display. Lukaku won Jagielka's free-kick on the edge of the Dynamo area, enabling Atsu to shoot from distance. His effort was blocked by the chest of Aleksandar Dragovic but the rebound fell to the Belgium striker, who curled an outstanding shot into Shovkovskiy's top corner from 20 yards.
Level on the night, ahead on aggregate; Everton then self-imploded. Jagielka and Alcaraz, another bemusing choice from Martinez with John Stones having recovered from a virus, had already served notice of their frailty in the air before Dynamo regained the lead with an appallingly simple goal. The pair both misjudged a long ball out of defence, Jagielka missing his header completely and Alcaraz allowing the ball to bounce over his head, to let the dangerous Yarmolenko through once more. Howard produced a superb save low to his right.
Next time there was no reprieve. Dynamo's second stemmed from an Everton corner that was taken by Leighton Baines, who was unable to get back into position for the counter-attack, prompting Coleman to switch to the left. Atsu, covering for Coleman at right-back, appeared to have thwarted the danger but Oleh Gusev's left-wing cross caused mayhem in the Everton six-yard box. Alcaraz missed the flight of the delivery yet again, the ball struck Coleman on the thigh and fell perfectly for Lukasz Teodorczyk to convert from close range.
Dynamo prospered from an identical route less than two minutes later. Alcaraz was making a habit of heading thin air and lost out to Miguel Veloso while challenging for another long ball out of defence. Jagielka won the second aerial challenge but only found Veloso lurking on the edge of the area. The midfielder's half-volley deflected off Coleman and looped in over the stranded Howard.
Everton could still have advanced with a second goal but were left needing two when more abject defending involving Alcaraz and Coleman gifted Rebrov's team their fourth. Yarmolenko released Teodorczyk behind Everton's back-line with a perfectly-weighted pass and when the striker crossed from the byline Alcaraz had to intercept before Gusev. Instead, the woeful Paraguayan turned the ball against Coleman on the line, yet another rebound from the Donegal defender fell to a white shirt, and Gusev gleefully put the ball away via the inside of a post.
Antunes, the Dynamo left-back, completed his side's scoring with an unstoppable drive from 35 yards that flew into Howard's top corner. There was no faulting the Everton defence for that one.
Barkley hit a post for a second time and Shovkovskiy saved superbly from Atsu before Jagielka glanced in Baines' corner. With this defence, however, Everton gave themselves no chance.