Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton: Europa League Ė as it happened

Nick Miller on 7 December 2017

Well itís been a flaming bin of a season for Everton so far, but this was an encouraging night. Fine performances from Lookman, Hornby and a couple of the other kids, and a win. This presumably wonít have any impact on the season overall, other than perhaps a few more games for Lookman, but itís better than what theyíve hitherto been serving up. Sam will have been sat at home, possibly eating five or six sausage rolls, enjoying himself thoroughly.

Full-time: Apollon 0-3 Everton

Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

90 mins + 1: One last sub for Everton - Charsley goes off, and Alexander Denny is on.

90 mins: The board goes up -we will have two minutes of added time.

88 mins: Change for Everton, as Mirallas goes off, and the 16-year-old Anthony Gordon comes on.

87 mins: A lovely pass through from Broadhead sets Vlasic away, he toe-ends it just past a defender then slots a neat left-footed finish under the keeper and into the net.

Evertonís Nikola Vlasic races through before slotting home their third goal.
Evertonís Nikola Vlasic races through before slotting home their third goal. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters
Evertonís Nikola Vlasic celebrates scoring with Nathan Broadhead.
Evertonís Nikola Vlasic celebrates scoring with Nathan Broadhead. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

Updated

GOAL! Apollon 0-3 Everton (Vlasic 87)

Tops off in the crowd, Everton are three up.

86 mins: Everton look happy just to knock this around for a few minutes now...

84 mins: Great work straightaway from Broadhead, showing some neat footwork to carve out a chance for Vlasic, but for some reason he doesnít shoot, instead trying to shift it to Lookman, and theyíre crowded out.

82 mins: And thatís it done for Hornby: Nathan Broadhead comes on for him.

81 mins: Winding down a bit now, this. Robles absolutely larrumphs a clearance towards Hornby, and while he wins the header thereís nobody there to collect the knock-down.

78 mins: Well. Pitian comes forward from the back and tries an effort from about 40 yards out that weíll call...ambitious. And predictably enough it sails gently through the Cypriot night air, and into the stands. Sachetti then goes into the book for a pretty spicy challenge on Vlasic, although he might have slipped a little to make it look worse.

75 mins: Sub for Apollon - Martinez is hooked, and Ioannis Pittas comes on.

74 mins: Some slightly mysterious aggro. Baningime gets a yellow card for...Iím not certain...then Allan takes exception to Mirallas shielding the ball for some reason. Papoulis shows up and gives the Belgian a shove, and for a moment thereís some light jostling. Not really sure what thatís all about, but everyone seems to be friends now.

72 mins: Some more neat passing across the edge of the Apollon box finds Mirallas. He gets a spot of luck as it breaks into his path, but his shot is saved by Kissasís feet. And then Hornby finds himself through on goal, but again the effort is too close to the keeper, and itís saved once more.

70 mins: Charsley gets down the left and loops a cross into the box, but itís just to high for Hornby in the middle. He didnít quite have the range*...

*This is a reference to Bruce Hornsby and the Range, a light American rock combo who did that song Tupac sampled. Ask your fusty uncle.

68 mins: Mirallas attempts a run from the right after nice work by Baningime, but he eventually loses control of the ball and a foul by Lookman ends things as far as that attack is concerned.

66 mins: Lovely dancing feet from Lookman, as he tip toes through the tulips of the Apollon defence, the ball breaks to Hornby but he canít get the shot away, and the attack ends when Vlasicís cross drifts through to Kissas.

64 mins: Curiously, after little more than an hour, Pitian appears to have some cramp. Get some salt tablets down you, son.

61 mins: Double change for Apollon - Schembri and Sardinero are off, Emilio Zelaya and Antonio Jakolis are on.

60 mins: Joao Pedro tries a Coutinho-esque under-the-wall shot from the free-kick, but the Everton players rather selfishly choose not to jump, so it rebounds harmlessly away, and the second shot is blocked too.

Everton keeper Joel Robles lines up his wall.
Everton keeper Joel Robles lines up his wall. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

Updated

59 mins: Ooooof - Apollon are given a free-kick millimetres outside the box, for a handball by Klaassen. Replays suggest it might - might - have been inside, but itís still a fine shooting chance for the home side...

57 mins: Lovely interchange between Hornby and Vlasic, who then plays a backheel to Lookman. He befuddles Pitian and lollipops his way around the defender, the angle is tight but his eyes are like saucers as he sees a hat-trick in his immediate future. He shoots, itís saved, and Vlasic, just a boy standing in front of an open goal, flaps his arms in exasperation.

56 mins: Everton taking a bit longer to get going. Lookman attacks down the left, plays a ball infield but itís behind Hornby, and the move peters out.

53 mins: That free-kick is half-cleared, but a corner is conceded....which is also cleared, Everton counter and Mirallas booms a long pass from left to right looking for Lookman, but that one is cut out.

52 mins: Ooof, Lookman gets himself into a bit of tangle and clumsily takes down Martinez on the Apollon right. Free-kick in a dangerous position here.

50 mins: Apollon have definitely started with a bit more vim in the second-half. They claim a penalty after the ball sort of goes near Feeneyís arm, but thereís no way that was going to be given. Sardinero tries to fling a cross into the middle, but itís headed clear by Feeney.

49 mins: Allan - the midfielder on loan at Apollon from Liverpool - tries a rasper from outside the box, but despite a bit of wobble in the air, Robles shovels it away.

47 mins: Jander makes a strapping run towards the box from the left, but heís crowded out, falls to the turf and let me tell you, he doesnít look happy about it. No sympathy from the ref, though.

46 mins: And weíre off. More of the same for the Ev, youíd think.

The players are out, further football is imminent. Looks like no changes for either side.

Apollon mightíve had a penalty just at the end of the half there, as Sardinero broke into the box from the right and goes down after a sliding challenge by Besic, but replays are unclear on how much contact there was. Still, a good half by Evertonís collection of kids and misfit toys, with Lookman and the big lad Hornby up top particularly impressive. The defence is a concern, but considering itís comprised of three kids, two of whom are really midfielders, and Besic, who is also most definitely a midfielder, thatís perhaps to be expected.

Half-time: Apollon 0-2 Everton

Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

45 mins: Slightly odd moment as the referee blows for a free-kick against Everton in the Apollon box, Charsley carries on anyway and is legged up on the edge of the six-yard box by Kissas. The referee then holds up the whistle and looks at Charsley as if the youngster has taken a whizz in his gin and tonic.

43 mins: Papoulis is the main threat for Apollon: he makes a driving run into the box, bursting between Schneiderlin and Baningime, but he slices his shot wide of the post.

Apollon Limassolís Fotis Papoulis shoots past Evertonís Beni Baningime.
Apollon Limassolís Fotis Papoulis shoots past Evertonís Beni Baningime. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Updated

42 mins: More neat work from Everton sets up another chance. Charsley battles to win the ball on the left, slips it in to Lookman who in turn plays it on to Mirallas, he waits just long enough to set Vlasic up on the right side of the box. He shoots low and with power, but was too close to Kissas who saves with his shins.

40 mins: Replays of that one arenít entirely clear on whether Papoulis got a touch to it at all. Still, he might have been deemed interfering with play in any case.

GOAoh no itís been disallowed

39 mins: Apollon get a free-kick deepish on the left, Sardinero whips it into the middle and itís glanced home by Papoulis, but three or four Apollon players were about half-a-yard offside, and thatís enough for the flag to shoot up.

37 mins: Lookman goal #2: visualisation.

34 mins: This might end up like a school game when everyone wants to get themselves a goal. Mirallas runs into some space just outside the box, the defence opening up for him, but he drags the shot from about 18 yards out just wide of the post.

32 mins: Having said that, Robles has to make another good save, diving to his left, from a shot by Papoulis. Then from the resultant corner, Sardinero finds himself in some space at the back post, but Robles smothers that effort with relative ease.

31 mins: Everton have been really good here, but it should be noted that theyíre basically playing against 11 semi-animated training cones. Apollon have been...not good.

29 mins: Apollon nearly pull one back straight away, as a scrappy little scramble spits the ball out into the path of Sardinero on the right side of the box, he whacks a shot towards goal but Robles makes a sharp save at the near-post.

28 mins: A brilliant, sweeping move with plenty of passes eventually finds Lookman about 25 yards out, he winds up and lashes a shot at goal and it goes into the top corner. Watching it again, keeper Kissas should really have saved it, but there was plenty of fizz on that one. Heís a talent, is Lookman.

Ademola Lookman thumps home his, and Evertonís, second goal of the night.
Ademola Lookman thumps home his, and Evertonís, second goal of the night. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters
Evertonís Ademola Lookman, left, celebrates his goal with his team-mates.
Evertonís Ademola Lookman, left, celebrates his goal with his team-mates. Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP

Updated

GOAL! Apollon 0-2 Everton (Lookman 28)

WHAT AN EFFING GOAL!

25 mins: Everton should fill their boots here. Hornby attempts a volley at goal which is blocked, it loops up and the Apollon defence just watch it, allowing the young forward to win an unchallenged header. Luckily for the Cypriots, that header goes straight to one of their playerse and they eventually clear.

24 mins: Everton on the attack again, and Lookman erm, looks for an early cross from deep, with Hornby lurking in the box, but it hits the first man.

21 mins: Great work by Vlasic on the right. He collects a pass from Mirallas, does brilliantly to keep it in at the byline on the right, clips a cross to the back post where Lookman finds himself in enough space to set himself then power a header into the roof of the net. Nice work by big Fraser Hornby in the middle to attract the attention of two defenders and give Lookman that space.

Evertonís Ademola Lookman is congratulated by his team-mates after opening the scoring.
Evertonís Ademola Lookman is congratulated by his team-mates after opening the scoring. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

Updated

GOAL! Apollon 0-1 Everton (Lookman 21)

And Evertonís lively start is rewarded.

19 mins: Lookman drifts in from the left and aims a cross sort of in the direction of some colleagues at the back stick, but itís far too strong and drifts out.

18 mins: ďEverton fan at work in the States here,Ē writes Matt Burtz. ďJust as an FYI, Fox Sports has the rights to Europa League games here and though they usually show English teams (though not always, at least as far as the Champions League is concerned) even they have recognized the pointlessness of this game and are showing Atalanta-Lyon instead. Personally Iím listening through Evertonís website, mostly to hear how the kids are doing but also to hear the name ďCharsleyĒ as much as possible. I feel like there should be a Charsley FC somewhere in the sixth or seventh tier of English football.

17 mins: Sachetti has another go after Papoulis causes Baningime more bother on the Apollon left, but this one is straight at the keeper and Robles saves.

15 mins: Jander takes the ball off Mo Besic (who previously almost got involved in some nonsense with Sachetti) but the shot is way, way over.

13 mins: Ach, a good chance wasted for Everton. Vlasic runs in from the right, it looks like he has a couple of options to open Apollon up, but his pass to Lookman is overhit and when the winger eventually catches it, he slips over and shunts the ball out of play.

11 mins: Brilliant save from Kissas! Lookman does more good work on the left, the ball breaks to Charsley coming up from left-back and he curls a shot towards the top corner but the Apollon goalie flings himself up and to the left and claws it wide.

Evertonís Ademola Lookman skips past the challenge of Apollon Limassolís Joao Pedro.
Evertonís Ademola Lookman skips past the challenge of Apollon Limassolís Joao Pedro. Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP

Updated

9 mins: Lookman should score. Heís set free by a lovely Klaassen pass in absolutely acres on the left, he cuts in from the flank, cuts further in leaving a defender on his rump and for a moment keeper Kissas almost looks like heís daring him to shoot by showing a fat slice of the goal...but Lookman takes too long and his shot is straight at the goalie.

8 mins: Low-key opening to this one. Vlasic tries to make tracks towards goal, goes down and claims a foul but nothing doing there.

6 mins: Chance for Apollon: Papoulis collects on the left side of the area after Baningme (playing out of position at right-back) is dragged into the middle leaving him space. The Apollon man tries to bend a shot into the far corner, but it goes wide.

4 mins: Great stuff from Mirallas: he gets the ball on the right, about 45-odd yards out, and runs in a diagonal line across the face of goal, barges one defender over then runs the ball out of play. Lovely stuff.

Evertonís Kevin Mirallas surges past Apollon Limassolís Joao Pedro.
Evertonís Kevin Mirallas surges past Apollon Limassolís Joao Pedro. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

Updated

3 mins: A loose ball heads towards Robles in the box, and for reasons best known to himself he kicks it clear rather than picking the thing up. Still, Everton get away with it and move upfield.

1 min: And weíre away. Everton are in their away kit, which is a sort of dark, dark blue with luminous yellow trim.

The teams are in the tunnel. If you would care to send in your thoughts about this game, Everton in general, football in general, sport in general, life in general - Nick.Miller@theGuardian.com is the place to send them.

Youíd assume the teams will come out to this...

Do you think Sam will be Facetiming the bench tonight? Maybe tape an iPad to a broom and prop it up in the dugout. Strap his earpiece on the side, for realism.

Craig Shakespeare, the hand on the tiller tonight, has been speaking: ďThis gives the fringe players that game opportunity...youíre always learning about your players...if they show that application, the door is never shut.Ē

Everton first team coach Craig Shakespeare looks focussed before kick-off.
Everton first team coach Craig Shakespeare looks focussed before kick-off. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

Updated

While weíre waiting for this one to start, hereís Liam Roseniorís excellent column from this week, on how we could be losing a generation of BAME coaches if we donít implement some sort of Rooney Rule into English football.

I remember bumping into a black former team-mate of a mine whoíd won the Champions Leagues, league titles and had a career at the very highest level with club and country. When I told him I had the ambition to manage and coach after my career was over he winked and scoffed: ďYouíve got no chance of a job!Ē Iíve seen discrimination as a young boy when my father was turned away from an opposing team boardroom when going to meet his chairman because the doorman said: ďThereís no way you are the manager.Ē

So, for those of you keeping track, thatís a stonking 20 changes made between the two sides from their last league games. As youíll know, so much so it almost seems pointless for me to mention it, the two who keep their places are Apollonís Brazilian midfielder Allan and skipper for the evening Fotis Papoulis. Perhaps theyíre being punished for some sort of infraction. In case youíre interested, that last Apollon fixture was a 6-0 victory over Pafos, who featured erstwhile West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet in their ranks.

The lowest squad number on Evertonís bench is 41.

Team news

Apollon Limassol

Kissas; Joao Pedro, Pitian, Roberge, Jander; Allan, Sachetti; Martinez; Sardinero, Schembri, Papoulis. Subs: Vale, Zelaya, Stylianou, Yuste, Pittas, Vasilou, Jakolis.

Everton

Robles; Baningime, Feeney, Besic, Charsley; Schneiderlin, Klaassen; Mirallas, Lookman, Vlasic; Hornby. Subs: Hewelt, Collins, Duke-McKenna, Denny, Broadhead, Lavery, Gordon.

Preamble

If you want an indication of the Guardianís absolute dedication to our craft, to the game, and indeed to you, itís this: weíre bothering with this match and the Everton manager isnít. Are we heroes? Thatís really not for us to say. But we certainly wouldnít shy away from such adulation.

This is of course an entirely meaningless game. Both sides are out, and they could probably do without such an encounter this Thursday, with big games coming up at the weekend. Everton face Liverpool on Sunday, which is why Big Sam has stopped at home, to study the tapes of Sadio Mane, Phil Coutinho et al doing awful things to defences all over the show (also to attend a Ďmedical appointmentí, apparently). Apollon, meanwhile, have that big 5th vs 7th clash against Omonia Nicosia on Monday.

Craig Shakespeare and Duncan Ferguson will take charge of this one for the Ev, selecting from a second-string group of players and even assistant Sammy Lee hasnít made the trip. Not a blinding recommendation for you to care about this one, but here we are. So letís come up with some reasons why you should also bother with this game.

  • Well, itís a game of football. What else are you going to do: talk to a loved one?
  • This might be completely negated by some imminent team news, but we might get a look at some of Evertonís excellent young players, including Ademola Lookman, curiously out of the first-team picture this term.
  • Harry Charsley, which is apparently the name of an Everton player and not a Victorian butcher, might well be playing. I know nothing of him as a player but...well, that name.
  • With a more prominent touchline role for Big Dunc Ferguson, who knows what could go down.
  • Thereís a chance that Shakey could receive in-game instructions from Allardyce back home, so the sight of him pressing one finger to his ear and talking into his cuff like an FBI agent should be quite entertaining.

That good enough for you? Hopefully. Stick with us.

Kick-off: 18.00 GMT

Nick will be here shortly.

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