Apollon v Everton background
Apollon and Everton will close their European campaigns with this UEFA Europa League Group E meeting in Nicosia.
• Neither team has managed a win in the section, with Everton, who are visiting Cyprus for the first time, needing to end that record to avoid taking the group’s wooden spoon.
• The sides drew 2-2 at Goodison Park on matchday two, a late header from Apollon’s Spanish defender Héctor Yuste denying Everton victory after they had recovered from Adrián Sardinero’s early goal to lead through new signings Wayne Rooney and Nikola Vlašić.
• Apollon lost 8-2 on aggregate to Everton’s arch-rivals Liverpool in a 1992/93 European Cup Winners’ Cup first-round tie – their only other encounters with English opposition.
• Apollon’s 4-0 defeat at Lyon on matchday five halted a run of 12 European fixtures in which they had scored at least one goal. They are nine home games unbeaten in Europe (W5 D4).
• Everton are without a victory in six European games (D2 L4) and have lost each of their last three away matches in the UEFA Europa League proper – group stage to final – by a three-goal margin.
• Everton’s 5-1 defeat by Atalanta on matchday five was their heaviest at home in Europe; it was also the third time they had conceded five goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. Only Gent (four times) have done so more often.
• Apollon competed in back-to-back UEFA Europa League group stages in 2013/14 and 2014/15, but have never made it to the round of 32. They finished third in Cyprus last season, beating champions APOEL in the domestic cup final.
• Seventh in the 2016/17 Premier League, Everton’s perfect record of UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage qualifications is now over, the Merseysiders having made further progress on each of their three previous participations.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Liverpool to Nicosia, where Apollon are playing their European home games, is around 3,500km.
• Apollon’s Brazilian midfielder Allan is on loan from Everton’s neighbours Liverpool.
• Apollon’s French defender Valentin Roberge and Everton’s Jordan Pickford were both on the books at Sunderland (2013–16) but never played a senior game together.
• Roberge became the first player to be sent off in this season’s group stage when he was dismissed at Everton on matchday two.
• Rooney was a UEFA Europa League winner with Manchester United last season.
• Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is available after a one-game ban.
• Sofronis Avgousti has coached home-town team Apollon since 2016, having previously served the club in three separate spells as a goalkeeper. The 11-times capped international was also on the books at AEK Larnaca, Aris Limassol and APOEL.
• Everton appointed experienced former England boss Sam Allardyce as their new manager on 29 November, over five weeks after sacking Ronald Koeman. Club stalwart David Unsworth had been in caretaker charge in the intervening period.