Europa League - Group E
Everton2Apollon Limassol2

Everton 2-2 Apollon Limassol

Nikola Vlasic
Nikola Vlasic scored his first goal for Everton

Everton manager Ronald Koeman said his team were "afraid to play football" as they conceded a late equaliser against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League.

The Toffees have one point from two games after Hector Yuste's 88th-minute header - just moments after Valentin Roberge had been sent off for the visitors - earned an unlikely point and ensured the Toffees left the field to boos from some home fans.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the player upended for the sending off, should have won the game in injury time, but headed straight at goalkeeper Bruno Vale.

Koeman said: "The feeling is a defeat today, not even a draw. It is really disappointing. We started poorly without any confidence and making a lot of mistakes but we had a good reaction.

"The second half was much better, we controlled the game and had big chances to score a third. It is football and sometimes when you are struggling maybe we are too afraid to play football. That is difficult when your body is not full of confidence.

"I cannot say they are not running or fighting, but they are scared to play forward. A win today makes it different."

Nikola Vlasic thought he had scored the winning goal as the £10m summer signing from Hajduk Split latched on to Gylfi Sigurdsson's clever pass and converted a cool finish past Vale - his first for the club.

The game's opening goals came in the first half courtesy of shocking defensive play from both sides. Wales international Ashley Williams' wayward clearance was picked off by Anton Maglica, who crossed for Adrian Sardinero to tuck in at the second attempt.

With the home crowd becoming restless because of the team's pedestrian play, Everton were gifted an equaliser as right-back Yuste passed the ball straight to Wayne Rooney in the six yard box to score into an open net.

Sigurdsson's hooked shot and free-kick were both kept out by Vale and fellow midfielder Tom Davies had a drive spectacularly saved.

"The challenge is to get the team full of confidence," added Koeman.

"If you start like this, if you analyse the first goal it is shocking. If you win then maybe it is a good medicine to play with more confidence - but now it will be the same."

Everton remain bottom of Group E after Lyon's 1-1 draw against Atalanta.

Toffees made to pay

Apollon Limassol fans
Apollon were cheered on by their boisterous 2,000-fan following

Although the Merseyside club extended their unbeaten run to three games in all competitions, the side were jeered off by some fans at the final whistle after failing to capitalise on numerous chances.

Romelu Lukaku, who scored 26 goals last season, has been sold to Manchester United and manager Ronald Koeman required forgotten man Oumar Niasse to score twice and bail his side out against Bournemouth in their last game.

Niasse was not given a squad number last season and trained with the under-23 side - where he was reportedly not even given a locker - before spending the second half of the season at Hull.

He was left out of the Europa League squad, which meant Sandro started as the furthest man forward - and without a goal in eight previous games, he looked a man bereft of confidence.

The Spaniard was looking to impress but his eagerness meant he was too clumsy in possession, shooting wildly from decent openings and often failing to beat the defender in one-on-one situations.

Croatian teenager Vlasic, though, made the difference after coming on, giving the visitors' backline a different threat to deal with. His goal was a clinical finish, keeping his composure to slot home as goalkeeper Vale closed in.

Calvert-Lewin spurned the golden chance for a winner late on, so the Toffees were made to pay as Yuste went from villain to hero to claim a point for last season's Cypriot Cup champions.

'Still finding our feet'

Everton forward Wayne Rooney told BT Sport: "It is hard to take. We were the better team but the goals were sloppy from our point of view.

"They are a good team. We know their strengths and there's no easy games in Europe. Some of the decisions this season we haven't got, we're picking up injuries and knocks from not being protected enough.

"We need that goal to see the game off. Up until we got the goal we were not playing as well as we can and we are still finding our feet. It is two wins and a draw in the past three games and we need to keep progressing and picking up points."

What next?

Everton host Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday (kick-off 14:15 BST).

Rooney enjoys Europa League - the stats

  • Everton are the first English side to pick up just one point after their first two Europa League group stage games.
  • After losing each of their past five Europa League group matches away from home, Apollon Limassol have picked up a point for the first time on the road since October 2013.
  • The Cypriots are unbeaten in their first two European group stage games for the first time in their history.
  • There were just 118 seconds between Apollon Limassol's red card and their equaliser against Everton.
  • Sigurdsson recorded his first assist for Everton and his first assist from open play in all competitions since March.



  • 1Pickford
  • 43Kenny
  • 30Holgate
  • 5Williams
  • 3Baines
  • 17GueyeSubstituted forVlasicat 45'minutes
  • 2Schneiderlin
  • 18G Sigurdsson
  • 26DaviesSubstituted forKlaassenat 67'minutes
  • 9RamírezSubstituted forCalvert-Lewinat 67'minutes
  • 10Rooney


  • 11Mirallas
  • 15Martina
  • 20Klaassen
  • 22Stekelenburg
  • 27Vlasic
  • 29Calvert-Lewin
  • 31Lookman

Apollon Limassol

  • 83Esteves do Vale
  • 17Guerra Cunha
  • 44Yuste CantonBooked at 74mins
  • 22RobergeBooked at 86mins
  • 88VasiliouSubstituted forZelayaat 83'minutes
  • 95dos Santos Saldanha
  • 92JakolisSubstituted forSchembriat 61'minutes
  • 5SachettiSubstituted forRibeiro Santanaat 77'minutes
  • 14Rodrigues de Souza
  • 77Sardinero Corpa
  • 99Maglica


  • 9Martinez
  • 10Afonso da Silva
  • 11Zelaya
  • 21Ribeiro Santana
  • 28Stylianou
  • 30Schembri
  • 46Kissas
Tamás Bognar

Match Stats

Home TeamEvertonAway TeamApollon Limassol
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, Everton 2, Apollon Limassol 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Everton 2, Apollon Limassol 2.

Offside, Everton. Jonjoe Kenny tries a through ball, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Nikola Vlasic (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Adrián Sardinero.

Attempt saved. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nikola Vlasic with a cross.


Goal! Everton 2, Apollon Limassol 2. Héctor Yuste (Apollon Limassol) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by João Pedro following a set piece situation.

Foul by Davy Klaassen (Everton).

Jander (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).

Allan (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


Valentin Roberge (Apollon Limassol) is shown the red card for violent conduct.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by André Schembri (Apollon Limassol).

Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Everton).

Anton Maglica (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Everton) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right. Assisted by Davy Klaassen.


Substitution, Apollon Limassol. Emilio Jose Zelaya replaces Giorgos Vasiliou.

Foul by Mason Holgate (Everton).

Anton Maglica (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Jonjoe Kenny (Everton) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Allan (Apollon Limassol).

Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Leighton Baines.


Substitution, Apollon Limassol. Jander replaces Esteban Sachetti.

Attempt missed. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Wayne Rooney following a fast break.

Attempt saved. Nikola Vlasic (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Morgan Schneiderlin.

Attempt missed. Nikola Vlasic (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.


Héctor Yuste (Apollon Limassol) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Wayne Rooney (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Héctor Yuste (Apollon Limassol).

Foul by Leighton Baines (Everton).

Esteban Sachetti (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Apollon Limassol. Conceded by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Attempt blocked. Allan (Apollon Limassol) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Héctor Yuste (Apollon Limassol) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by João Pedro with a cross.

Corner, Apollon Limassol. Conceded by Nikola Vlasic.

Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Everton).

Anton Maglica (Apollon Limassol) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton).


Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 28th September 2017

As It Stood


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