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Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton - Toffees end dismal European campaign on a high

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It’s a proud night for Everton’s academy in Cyprus

Southampton v Everton - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Ademola Lookman scored twice as Everton ended a dismal European campaign on a high note with a 3-0 win over Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

Nicola Vlasic was also in target as the Toffees made it three successive wins and three clean sheets in eight days.

Given what we have witnessed for much of the season, that should be classed as significant progress.

Though Everton were already eliminated, the victory means we avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of Group E.

With much of the senior squad left at home it was no surprise to see 11 changes to the side that beat Huddersfield last weekend.

As well as Lookman and Vlasic, Davy Klaassen, Joel Robles, Morgan Schneiderlin, Kevin Mirallas and Muhamed Besic were handed starts.

There were also debuts for youngsters Fraser Hornby and Harry Charsley, as well as a first start for Morgan Feeney.

The Toffees made a bright start, with the first opportunity falling to Charsley, whose first-time curling effort from distance went just wide.

Everton should have gone ahead through Lookman, but the former Charlton man took one touch too many and allowed goalkeeper Anastasios Kissas to block.

Lookman soon made amends however, stooping to meet Vlasic’s right-wing cross and sending a diving header into the roof of the net.

Everton made it 2-0 before half-time. After a fine 26-pass move involving every member of the team, Lookman collected the ball 25-yards out and fired in a fizzing drive that was too hot for Kissas to keep out.

Lookman should have completed his hat-trick early in the second half after good work from Vlasic, but his low shot from a tight angle was saved by Kissas.

Mirallas and Hornby then drew two saves from Kissas in quick succession as Everton pushed for a third.

That third goal eventually came with three minutes remaining. Vlasic stole the ball away from a defender before driving into the box and firing low into the corner for his second Everton goal.

There was also time for three further Everton debuts with Anthony Gordon, Alex Denny and Nathan Broadhead coming on as substitutes.

It was a pleasing way to end what has been a pretty dreadful European campaign and means Everton finish third in Group E with four points from six games.

Lookman and Vlasic certainly stated their case for a first-team place, while Klaassen and Schneiderlin showed glimpses of quality.

The night belonged to the youngsters though with seven home-grown players featuring in all.

The first-team’s failures inadvertently set up what was a proud night for the club’s academy in Cyprus.

David Unsworth can deservedly give himself a pat on the back tonight.