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Everton to play Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League

Blues face tricky second leg trip to Ukraine

EuroFootball/Getty Images

Everton are to play Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Europa League after Friday's draw in Nyon.

A trip to war-torn Ukraine was not high on everyone's wanted list, though Everton at least have a home leg to look forward to first where they will hope to obtain a healthy lead to take to eastern Europe.

The first game at Goodison Park will be on Thursday March 12 with the return game the following week on Thursday March 19.

It will be the first time the two sides have met in Europe and Everton's first game at this stage since a memorable match against Fiorentina in 2008, which saw the Toffees claw back a two goal first leg deficit only to lose on penalties.

Kiev are in the last 16 for the first time since they went to the quarter-finals in 2011, having exited at the round of 32 stage in  the last two seasons and a group stage exit in 2012.

They finished top of Group J ahead of Aalborg, Steaua Bucharest and Rio Ave before beating French minnows Guingamp in the round of 32.

However, the second leg of that game was marred by crowd trouble, with Kiev fans forcing their way past stewards in order to attack the visiting supporters.

The game was delayed by 15 minutes in order to quell the trouble, with the Guingamp fans evacuated from the stadium for their own safety.

There may well be repercussions from UEFA, perhaps forcing the game to be played behind closed doors or at a neutral ground.

Despite the logistical and safety concerns associated with the away leg, in pure football terms the draw is not too bad. Dynamo Kiev are one of the weaker teams remaining in the competition and have a reputation for being poor travellers.

Therefore the first leg is vital, Everton need to score plenty of goals in order to take a healthy first leg advantage in what is surely to be an uncomfortable journey east for the return game.