Lookman and Vlasic excel in fine win in Cyprus

Thursday, 7 December, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last
Apollon Limassol 0 - 3 Everton

Ademola Lookman capped a lively display with a brace, the second of which was a spectacular 25-yarder
AFP/Getty Images

Everton signed off an otherwise miserable Europa League campaign with an emphatic win over Apollon Limassol

Ademola Lookman had the Blues 2-0 up at the break thanks to a rare header and a thumping long-range effort and Nikola Vlasic put the iciing on the cake with an impressive individual effort late in the second half.

Both teams had already been eliminated from the competition and with nothing riding on the outcome, assistant coach Craig Shakespeare took the opportunity to blood some youth players and name a raft of youngsters, none of whom have played any senior football, on the subs bench.

Harry Charsley and Fraser Hornby made their debuts while Morgan Feeney made his first start but it was two wingers with prior first-team experience who lit up the game for Everton in a game they might have won even more decisively were it not for European debutant Kissas in the Limassol goal.

Everton's young outfit acquitted themselves well in the early going and came very close to scoring on two occasions in the first 10 minutes.

Lookman was released into space by a lovely Klaassen pass but the winger delayed his shot too long in front of goal and his effort was ultimately saved well from point-blank range.

More trickery from Lookman was eventually broken up as he tried to dribble his way into the box but the ball fell invitingly to Charsley whose impressive curling effort was heading for the top corner until the 'keeper palmed it behind.

Everton did score with 20 minutes gone, though, with Vlasic the creator this time. The Croatian got a second chance to cross which he did from the byline and Lookman was well-placed at the far post to head home.

And it was Lookman who doubled the lead in spectacular fashion a few minutes later when he picked up a long clearance from Robles and unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards out that Kissas couldn't keep out.

Sardinero tried to reduce arrears for the home side but he was denied by an excellent stop from Robles.

Then, after Papoulis's effort from outside the box was palmed away, Sardinero popped up again on the edge of the six-yard box but Robles closed the angle and saved comfortably.

Back at the other end, Mirallas took advantage of the space that opened up in front of him but dragged a shot wide of goal 11 minutes before half-time.

Apollon thought they had make it 2-1 in the 39th minute when a free kick from the left bounced into the far corner off a slight touch from Papoulis but the referee's assistant had spotted an offside "goal" was chalked off.

Kissas was forced into a another save as half-time approached when Vlasic fired hard and low and the 'keeper got down quickly to block it with his legs before Papoulis shrugged off Baningime's challenge but sliced wide for Apollon.

A late penalty claim by the Cypriot side when Besic went sliding in on his man was waved away as the Blues took a 2-0 lead into the interval.

Robles was called into the first save of the second period, an awkward block from a long-range effort as the home side carried the greater threat going forward in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

But Everton sparked into life in the 56th minute when Vlasic's backheel put Lookman in again but the latter went for hat-trick glory rather than squaring a return ball and Kissas parried his shot behind.

A somewhat harsh decision to penalise Klaassen for handball right on the edge of his own box gave Limassol a chance from a direct free kick but Pedro's shot cannoned off the defensive wall.

Kissas had to come to Apollon's rescue twice in the space of a few seconds to make blocking saves from both Mirallas and Hornby as a comfortably-positioned Everton occasionally exploited the space afforded by the home side's back line.

Shakespeare's first change of the night saw Hornby make way for fellow striker Nathan Broadhead with nine minutes left.

Great work by the young Welshman almost set Vlasic up but, like Lookman in the first half, he couldn't engineer a shot and was eventually closed down.

The former Hajduk Split man did much better a minute or so later, though, when he prodded Broadhead's flick past the last defender, sprinted onto the ball and slipped it past the advancing goalkeeper to make it 3-0.

16-year-old Anthony Gordon came on late for Mirallas with a couple of minutes to go while Alex Denny replaced Charsley in stoppage time.

Kick-off: 6pm, Thursday, 7 December, 2017

Everton: Robles, Baningime, Feeney, Besic, Charsley (Denny 90'+1), Klaassen, Schneiderlin, Vlasic, Mirallas (Gordon 88'), Lookman, Hornby (Broadhead 82')
Subs: Hewelt, Collins, Duke-McKenna, Denny, Lavery.  


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