Ademola Lookman’s brace ensured a youthful Everton side did not miss Sam Allardyce’s presence in Cyprus as they finished their woeful Europa League campaign with a victory.
A pre-arranged medical appointment meant new boss Allardyce was not in Nicosia to witness the 3-0 win over Apollon Limassol, the Toffees’ first of the group stage, but he will receive a positive assessment of his fringe players and youngsters from stand-in manager Craig Shakespeare.
The most glowing review will be reserved for 20-year-old Lookman, who scored two goals in seven first-half minutes, the second of which was a blistering strike from range to cap off a 26-pass move where each Everton player touched the ball, with Nikola Vlasic then adding a third late on.
What they said
Everton stand-in manager Craig Shakespeare: “Of course as young players they need the opportunity, but they also need to show the ability as well. He (Lookman) did tonight. We just said to the squad after, look at this as a starting block and in the football you get your just rewards most of the time. The work ethic was there for all to see and so were the rewards. Hopefully that will give the young boys a bit of confidence and they can have a good career in the game.”
Apollon Limassol manager Sofronis Avgousti: “We have to say congratulations to Everton, they played a really good match. This match will show us what we need to avoid going forward.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Ademola Lookman
Could have finished the game with four goals but a brace was enough to see off Apollon. The second goal was a terrific strike and evidence there is certainly an end product from the winger.
Stat of the match
This was the youngest XI an English club had selected in a European group-stage fixture since 2009, when Everton named an even more youthful line-up having already secured their passage to the last 32.
View from the bench
This was the first European match Shakespeare had taken charge of since Leicester were beaten by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals last season. Who knows if he will ever be at the helm for a continental fixture again but the stand-in boss must have been pleased with what he saw.
Everton: Joel Robles 7, Beni Baningime 6, Morgan Feeney 7, Muhamed Besic 6, Harry Charsley 7, Morgan Schneiderlin 6, Davy Klaassen 7, Nikola Vlasic 7, Kevin Mirallas 7, Ademola Lookman 8, Fraser Hornby 7. Subs: Nathan Broadhead: (on for Hornby, 82) 6, Anthony Gordon (on for Mirallas, 89) 6, Alex Denny (on for Charsley, 90) 6.
Who’s up next?
AC Omonia v Apollon Limassol (Cypriot First Division, December 11)
Liverpool v Everton (Premier League, December 10)