Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton: Lookman shines as young Blues dominate in Cyprus

Two goals from Ademola Lookman and another from Nikola Vlasic ensures Everton don’t go winless in the Europa League group stage.

Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton: Lookman shines as young Blues dominate in Cyprus
Photo: Getty Images/Everton FC.
Apollon Limassol
0 3
Apollon Limassol: Kissas, Joao Pedro, Pitian, Roberge, Jander, Sachetti, Allan, Sardinero (Jakolis, min. 60), Martínez (Pittas, min. 75), Papoulis, Schembri (Zelaya, min. 60)
Everton: Robles, Baningime, Feeney, Besic, Charsley (Denny, min.90), Klaassen, Schneiderlin, Vlasic, Mirallas (Gordon, min. 89), Lookman, Hornby (Broadhead, min. 81)
SCORE: 1-0, Lookman (min. 20) 2-0, Lookman (min. 27) 3-0, Vlasic (min. 86)
REFEREE: Sébastien Delferière (BEL)

An Ademola Lookman first-half brace ensured that Everton will not finish the Europa League group stage without a win as a young Blues side saw off Apollon Limassol 3-0 in Nicosia.

It was the 20-year-old midfielder who shined for the Blues in their trip to Cyprus with two first-half goals just before the half-hour mark.

His first came from a diving header at the far post after good work by Nikola Vlasic to keep the ball in play on the opposite side of the 18-yard-box. The 20-year-old worked enough at the far post to allude the attention of the Limassol defenders, allowing him to head home for his first goal of the season.

His second was a bit more special.

Joel Robles cleared a long ball and found Kevin Mirallas unmarked on the left-hand side. Lookman received a pass from the Belgian and drifted inside before drilling his effort from a few yards outside the 18-yard-box and finding the top corner.

Vlasic finished the game off with a third goal for the visitors minutes before the end as he pounced on a loose ball and poked home past Tasos Kissas.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net before half-time but as Fotis Papoulis nodded home from a free-kick, he was adjudged to be offside and Blues clean sheet remained intact.

Young Blues star in Cyprus

With this season’s Europa League campaign over before the Blues even travelled to Cyprus and with one eye on Sunday’s Merseyside Derby against Liverpool, an extremely youthful Everton side was sent to Nicosia.

The average age of which was 23-years-old, the youngest European average aged side since Everton played Bate Borisov in 2009, only contained a handful of first-team regulars.

Beni Baningime, Harry Charsley and Morgan Feeney all starred for the Blues in the dead rubber tie.

Fraser Hornby also started for the visitors and put himself about well but failed to make an impact like his fellow youngsters.

The 19-year-old Baningime played out of position - filling in at right-back instead of his more natural central midfield position yet he didn’t look out of place.

Charsley, 21 and a central midfielder himself, filled in on the opposite flank to Baningime and did a reasonable job. He also went close in the first-half but a stunning save from Kissas at full stretch denied him a goal.

There were also debuts from the bench for Nathan Broadhead, Alex Denny and 16-year-old Alex Gordon.


Focus on the Premier League

The Blues must now focus on Sunday's trip to Anfield but can take confidence from three consecutive wins and clean sheets, regardless of which players secured them. 

A nightmarish Europa League campaign is now over and with the club already out of the Carabao Cup, the focus must be on the Premier League and a possible FA Cup run, despite being drawn against Liverpool there too.  

New boss Sam Allardyce, who didn't travel to Cyprus due to a previously arranged medical appointment, will take solace from the fact that his new side already looks like they have a solid foundation to build on despite a rocky start to the season.