After running Villarreal CF so close in the final UEFA Champions League qualifying round, Everton FC's hopes of progressing in the UEFA Cup also appear to be over after they were humbled 5-1 by FC Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania.
Everton were actually the more threatening side in the early stages, but fell apart later and conceded four goals in the second half. Joseph Yobo almost put the English side ahead after 18 minutes when he skipped passed Ianis Zicu and rattled in a shot which Uladzimir Hayeu did well to turn around the post. A swift counterattack in the 27th minute put paid to the visitors' early endeavour, though, as Claudiu Niculescu bundled the ball over the line from Florentin Petre's flick.
Everton's response was emphatic - drawing level three minutes later with what at the time looked to be a priceless away goal as Yobo headed Simon Davies' cross down and into the goal to make it 1-1. Dinamo remained full of running and Nigel Martyn did well to claw away a delicate chip from Zicu, although the Everton goalkeeper could do little to deny a rampant home team after the break.
The Romanian side regained the lead with a stunning second in the 52nd minute, Zicu expertly flicking the ball across Martyn and into the net from Niculescu's superb curling cross from the left. Zicu then picked out substitute Florin Bratu and he burst past Yobo only for Martyn to clear with his feet. Dinamo added a third in the 71st minute with a superb strike from Petre as the Merseyside club began to buckle under a wave of attacks.
Group stage beckons
Everton's problems increased in the 75th minute when Dinamo struck yet another spectacular goal, Bratu beating Martyn with an unstoppable shot. The same player completed the scoring on the stroke of full time to leave Dinamo on the cusp of a place in the group stage, and Everton facing further disappointment.