Everton’s poor start in the Europa League continued against Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol, who finished the game with 10 men. A fortnight on from the woeful 3-0 away defeat to Atalanta in their Group E opener, Everton fell behind in the 13th minute when Adrian Sardinero netted following a mistake by Ashley Williams.
Eight minutes later they capitalised on an error from Apollon’s Hector Yuste, with Wayne Rooney stroking in his first European goal for Everton, and substitute Nikola Vlasic then opened his Toffees account by slotting home in the 66th minute.
That looked set to be the winner, but a chaotic finish to the contest saw the away side have Valentin Roberge sent off, then equalise moments later through Yuste’s header, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin blew a superb opportunity to secure victory for the hosts at the death.
“We started playing every ball back and gave away an easy goal,” said Koeman. “The team is struggling. The players are under the level they can bring. I cannot say they are not running or fighting, but they are scared to play forward. A win today makes it different.”
Rooney scored the equaliser for the Blues in the first half and afterwards he felt they deserved to win the game:.
“We conceded a late goal, we deserved to win the game. The goals were sloppy. It’s a point but it should be three,” he told BT Sport last night.
“They are a good team, there are no easy games in Europe or in the Premier League. We just need that goal to see a game off.
“We didn’t play well until we scored, it’s been a very difficult start to the season in terms of fixtures but we will keep progressing.”
Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Williams, Baines, Gueye (Vlasic 46), Schneiderlin, Davies (Klaassen 67), Sigurdsson, Sandro (Calvert-Lewin 67), Rooney.
Bruno Vale, Joao Pedro, Yuste, Roberge, Vasiliou (Zelaya 83), Allan, Sachetti (Jander 77), Alef, Jakolis (Schembri 61), Maglica, Sardinero.
Tamas Bognar (Hungary).