Yannick Bolasie stepped up his return from injury with a 45-minute run-out in Everton Under-23s’ 0-0 draw with Dynamo Zagreb.
The DR Congo international, who made a second half cameo in the young Blues’ defeat to Leicester City on Monday played the full first half before making way at the break, as he targets a place back in the Blues’ first team squad after recovering from a cruciate knee injury.
James McCarthy also played the opening 45 minutes, as he stepped up his own return to match fitness.
A quiet first opening half an hour saw only Luke Garbutt see a deflected free-kick tipped wide by Dynamo keeper Dinko Horkas.
But on 33 minutes, Bolasie had the ball in the net, turning on the edge of the box to rifle home a venomous shot to seemingly break the deadlock. Referee Mr Donohue, however, had other ideas and had already blown for a foul in the build up.
The best Zagreb could muster were a couple of half chances from Bojan Knezevic.
Both Bolasie and McCarthy were withdrawn at the break, with Antony Evans and Matty Foulds replacing them.
The Blues were forced into a further change on 52 minutes as, after David Henen picked up a knock, Boris Mathis was introduced.
Soon after that third change, the hosts carved out a golden opportunity to take the lead. Gethin Jones lofted over a cross that Harry Charsley, who brought it down perfectly for Fraser Hornby to side-foot a shot on goal. Unfortunately for the young striker, he couldn’t pick out the corner and Horkas could make the save.
Visiting midfielder Karlo Muhar saw two rasping drives – one with either foot – in quick succession, fly inches away from troubling Joe Hilton in the Everton goal.
Dynamo were reduced to 10 men late on as Endri Cekici – who had just seen a deflected shot saved by Hilton – picked up a second yellow.
Having set up Hornby earlier, Charsley had the favour returned in the closing stages, as the striker laid on a ball that the midfielder smashed an effort goalbound that Horkas acrobatically tipped away.
That was the final chance of the contest, meaning the Toffees’ involvement in the Premier League International Cup comes to a close.