Everton were denied their first win in the Europa League group stages as Apollon scored a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Goodison Park on Thursday.
Everton 2 Apollon 2
Sardinero gives Thrylos early lead
Rooney restores parity soon after
Vlasic fires hosts in front after break
Roberge sent off late on, Yuste equalises
Ronald Koeman’s side appeared to have done enough as they battled back from an early goal down to lead 2-1 in the dying minutes of this Group E clash, having seen Thrylos reduced to 10 men with four minutes left.
But as they did a fortnight ago, the visitors scored at the death again to clinch a share of the spoils to leave the Toffees winless after two rounds.
— Everton (@Everton) September 28, 2017
Koeman was looking for an improvement from his team after losing the group opener 3-0 at Atalanta, but they got off to a slow start on Merseyside.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors on seven minutes when Antun Maglica headed well over the target from Giorgos Vasiliou’s cross on the left.
They would take the lead five minutes later courtesy of a mistake from Ashley Williams, whose sloppy pass let in Maglica on the right, and he crossed for Adrian Sardinero to score from close range, despite Jordan Pickford’s efforts to keep the ball out.
Vasiliou threatened again for the Cypriot outfit just past the quarter-hour mark with a venomous first-time volley that flew narrowly wide of the right post from 22 yards out.
Sofronis Avgousti’s men had made an impressive start, but defensive error gifted the hosts an equaliser on 21 minutes when Hector Yuste’s poor backpass was pounced on by Wayne Rooney, who stabbed into an open net from inside the box.
Gylfi Sigurdsson forced Bruno Vale into a save with his volley from 12 yards out in the 25th minute, while Rooney curled a shot inches past the right post from 20 yards out, after combining well with Williams on the left four minutes later.
Yuste looked to make amends for his earlier howler with a header that looped onto the roof of the goal from a 35th-minute corner, before Sandro Ramirez fired over from just inside the area on the left after receiving a pass from Leighton Baines and turning his marker.
Vale pulled off a smart save to keep out Davies’ swerving effort from 20 yards out on the left in the 41st minute, and the keeper was called into action again moments later when he punched away Sigurdsson’s free-kick just outside the box on the right.
Thrylos continued to ask questions of the home team after the break, with Antonio Jakolis testing Pickford from range on 54 minutes.
Williams had a chance to make up for his first-half gaffe as he connected with Sigurdsson’s free-kick on the stretch at the back post on 65 minutes, but wasn’t able to direct the ball on target.
However, the Toffees went in front a minute later as Sigurdsson released Nikola Vlasic with a neat pass, and the substitute showed good composure to slot home inside the right post from 16 yards out.
Apollon looked to respond as Allan found space for a shot 25 yards out that was deflected wide of the left post on 72 minutes, while Vlasic tested Vale three minutes later with a strike on the turn from just outside the area.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin went close soon afterwards, having been released down the left by Rooney, but the substitute curled his shot just wide of the right post from range.
The Everton youngster was then involved in an incident with Valentin Roberge on 86 minutes, which saw the Frenchman receive his marching orders for an apparent stamp on his opponent.
But the visitors were back on level terms just two minutes later against all odds as Yuste glanced a free-kick into the bottom-right corner of the net.
They had Vale to thank for preserving their point when he pulled off a superb reaction save to keep out Calvert-Lewin’s header from Vlasic’s cross on the left in the final minute of the game.
? | "In a frustrating encounter, #EFC – as on Saturday – looked to have sealed victory from behind…"
— Everton (@Everton) September 28, 2017