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Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2 – match report

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2: Stunning second half start helps Spurs sink Black Cats

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UPDATED:

15:26 GMT, 29 December 2012

Aaron Lennon kept Tottenham's Champions League challenge alive as his side came from behind to win at Sunderland.

Spurs trailed at the break to John O'Shea's first goal for the Black Cats despite having enjoyed the better of a first half during which strike Emmanuel Adebayor hit the bar from just two yards.

However, Carlos Cuellar's own goal three minutes after the restart gave the visitors a foothold, and they took full advantage with 51 minutes gone when Lennon sped through to beat keeper Simon Mignolet.

Hot Spurs: Tottenham came from behind to beat Sunderland and move third in the Premier League

Hot Spurs: Tottenham came from behind to beat Sunderland and move third in the Premier League

MATCH FACTS

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet; Gardner, Kilgallon (Campbell 61), O'Shea (Bramble 67), Cuellar; Larsson (Wickham 80), Colback, Johnson, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs not used: McFadden, Vaughan, Dong-won, Westwood

Goals: O'Shea 40

TOTTENHAM: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton; Lennon (Parker 82), Sandro, Dembele, Bale (Sigurdsson 89); Adebayor, Defoe (Dempsey 75). Subs not used: Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Livermore, Friedel

Goals: Cuellar (own goal) 47, Lennon 51

Booked: Dawson, Dembele, Bale

Referee: Martin Atkinson

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Had it not been for the Belgian's
excellence, Jermain Defoe would have wrapped up the points on the hour
with a shot from point-blank range which looked odds-on to end up in the
back of the net, and he also kept out Adebayor's late effort.

Martin O'Neill's side battled
manfully for a way back into the game, but Spurs held out with little
difficulty to claim a second successive Barclays Premier League win on
the road.

Sunderland could hardly have headed
into the game with any more confidence having dispensed with champions
Manchester City on Boxing Day to claim a third victory in four league
outings.

On paper at least, today's fixture
looked perhaps the more winnable of the two, but O'Neill was under no
illusions as to how difficult a contest it would prove to be having seen
Spurs dismantle former club Aston Villa in their last outing.

In the event, two sides with a
reputations for hitting teams hard and fast on the counter started
relatively cautiously and genuine chances were few and far between
during the opening 45 minutes.

Wing wizard: Aaron Lennon grabbed the winner applying a finishing touch to a swift passing move

Wing wizard: Aaron Lennon grabbed the winner applying a finishing touch to a swift passing move

Wing wizard: Aaron Lennon grabbed the winner applying a finishing touch to a swift passing move

Adebayor failed to make the most of
Gareth Bale's enterprising fourth-minute run and pull-back, and Spurs
keeper Hugo Lloris was able to collect Craig Gardner's deflected
free-kick with little difficulty seconds later.

As the half wore on, the Black Cats,
who had hurt City in wide areas on Wednesday, worked their way into
several promising positions, but Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean
were able to pick out only Lloris with their final balls.

Tottenham began to shade the game in terms of possession and they created a series of openings.

Sandro could not extend Mignolet with
a bouncing 21st-minute shot from distance, and Bale was similarly
wasteful when presented with a headed chance by Lennon, who was giving
makeshift left-back Matt Kilgallon a tough time.

In the meantime, Mignolet had rushed
from his line to block Adebayor's flick after the strike had been played
in by Sandro, but the Togo international should have put the visitors
ahead on the half-hour.

Been a while: Sunderland took the lead through John O'Shea's first goal in more than three years

Been a while: Sunderland took the lead through John O'Shea's first goal in more than three years

Been a while: Sunderland took the lead through John O'Shea's first goal in more than three years

Been a while: Sunderland took the lead through John O'Shea's first goal in more than three years

Cuellar failed to cut out Jermain
Defoe's curling shot, although he took the pace off it to allow Adebayor
to get to the loose ball before Mignolet.

However, the strike somehow managed to hit the bar from just two yards and Sunderland were able to breathe again.

The home side created their first
effort of note seven minutes before the break when Cuellar looped a
header over from Adam Johnson's free-kick, and it was they who took the
lead two minutes later.

Neither Stephen Fletcher nor O'Shea
could make meaningful contact with Sebastian Larsson's free-kick as it
sped towards goal, but after the Scot had seen his follow-up blocked by
Lloris, the Republic of Ireland international, back in the starting
line-up after illness, gleefully swept the ball into the unguarded net.

Miss: Emmanuel Adebayor wasted several chances, most notably when he hit the bar from two yards

Miss: Emmanuel Adebayor wasted several chances, most notably when he hit the bar from two yards

Miss: Emmanuel Adebayor wasted several chances, most notably when he hit the bar from two yards

O'Neill's men returned in determined
mood and the way Johnson went past Bale before seeing his cross hacked
clear by Sandro might have proved inspirational.

However, their lead and optimism evaporated within six disastrous minutes.

There was an element of fortune about
Spurs' equaliser when Cuellar headed a 48th-minute corner into his own
net, but things went from bad to worse for the home side just three
minutes later.

Lennon attempted to lay the ball off,
but saw it hit O'Shea and bounce back to his feet, and he raced in on
goal to beat Mignolet despite Kilgallon's best efforts to apprehend him.

Thorn: Gareth Bale caused plenty of problems, but was later booked for diving, his fifth caution this season

Thorn: Gareth Bale caused plenty of problems, but was later booked for diving, his fifth caution this season

Thorn: Gareth Bale caused plenty of problems, but was later booked for diving, his fifth caution this season

Thorn: Gareth Bale caused plenty of problems, but was later booked for diving, his fifth caution this season

Spurs should really have ended the
game as contest on the hour when, with the Black Cats in disarray, Bale,
who was later booked for diving, sprinted from halfway before picking
out Defoe in front of goal.

The England striker had time to
control before shooting, but as the entire stadium waited for the net to
bulge, Mignolet pulled off a breathtaking save he had no right to make
to keep his side's hopes alive.

Sunderland poured forward in the
search for an equaliser, in the process leaving themselves vulnerable at
the back, but neither side could increase their tally with Mignolet
keeping out Adebayor eight minutes from time, and that proved more than
satisfactory for the visitors.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto is Chelsea target

Chelsea consider 5m swoop for Spurs left-back Assou Ekotto

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UPDATED:

14:57 GMT, 23 December 2012

Chelsea are weighing up a possible bid to sign Benoit Assou-Ekotto from Tottenham.

Rafa Benitez is under pressure to find a replacement for defender Ashley Cole who is set to leave after his contract ends in the summer, and the experienced Assou-Ekotto fits the bill.

Chelsea have reportedly considered launching a bid of 5million, according to Metro, for the player Spurs paid just 3.5million to sign him from Lens in 2006.

Rivalries: Chelsea might bid for Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto

Rivalries: Chelsea might bid for Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto

The 28-year old Cameroon international stood out as one of the best players at White Hart Lane last season, although a persistent knee injury has kept him out of Andre Villas-Boas’ plans thus far, although he will be returning soon.

Instead Jan Vertonghen has retained his place after capably standing in for the injured defender and Kyle Naughton, who is predominantly a right-back, has also played on the left.

Chelsea have been linked with Southampton’s Luke Shaw, but the 17-year old’s arrival at Stamford Bridge would mean the club were left with two young left-backs in Shaw and Ryan Bertrand.

Tottenham 0 Stoke 0: Spurs frustrated by Potters at White Hart Lane

Tottenham 0 Stoke 0: Frustration for Spurs as Potters claim deserved point

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UPDATED:

17:22 GMT, 22 December 2012

Stoke lived up to their billing as one of the best defensive units around as they put in a stubborn display to deny Tottenham victory at White Hart Lane.

Spurs could have gone third in the Barclays Premier League with a win, but the visitors proved too hard to break down thanks to a predictably tough display from Tony Pulis' side.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas and his assistant Steffen Freund regularly complained at the physicality of the Potters, who had four players booked during the match.

But the draw was more to do with the imperious performances of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth than any perceived bully-boy tactics.

On the run: Gareth Bale is chased by Ryan Shotton

On the run: Gareth Bale is chased by Ryan Shotton

Match facts

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon (Sigurdsson 78), Sandro, Dembele (Parker 85), Bale, Defoe, Adebayor.
Sub not used: Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Livermore, Townsend.
Bookings: Vertonghen, Sandro.

Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron, Shotton (Whitehead 64), Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington (Crouch 69), Jones (Jerome 66), Walters.
Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Upson, Kightly.
Bookings: Cameron, Wilkinson, Nzonzi, Whitehead, Walters.

Attendance: 35, 702.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Latest Premier League results, fixtures and table

Villas-Boas had described the Potters
defence as one of the best in Europe on Thursday and his assessment
proved correct as the strong duo kept Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain
Defoe quiet for almost the entire match.

Gareth Bale, returning to the Tottenham side after his hamstring injury,
went close with a second-half header, as did Gylfi Sigurdsson in
added-time, but for the most part Spurs were restricted to long shots.

Stoke, who have kept nine clean sheets this season, have now gone eight
matches unbeaten for the first time since the Premier League began.

Tottenham, meanwhile, head to Aston Villa on Boxing Day in fifth
position after rivals Arsenal and Everton both won their respective
matches, and Villas-Boas will no doubt see this as a missed opportunity
to start the festive period with a bang.

Sliding in: Jermain Defoe challenges Stoke's Robert Huth

Sliding in: Jermain Defoe challenges Stoke's Robert Huth

On the ball: Jan Vertonghen is closed down by Stoke pair Glenn Whelan and Ryan Shotton

On the ball: Jan Vertonghen is closed down by Stoke pair Glenn Whelan and Ryan Shotton

Stoke made a bright start, stifling the home side in the first five minutes amid a quiet atmosphere inside White Hart Lane. Just 45 seconds had gone before Kyle Walker fed a hospital pass straight
in to the path of Kenwyne Jones, but he lost his balance and could only
shoot over.

Spurs sought to match Stoke's physicality in midfield with a couple of
hefty tackles early on, but Sandro went too far five minutes in when he
earned a booking for a dangerous studs up challenge on Glenn Whelan.

Stoke had all the early play, but Hugo Lloris remained untested in the Spurs goal. Bale fired in a low cross, but the imperious Huth hooked the ball clear before Defoe could get to the ball.

The eyes have it: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor controls the ball under pressure from Glenn Whelan

The eyes have it: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor controls the ball under pressure from Glenn Whelan

Stoke soon hit back through Steven N'Zonzi, who fed Jones on the
counter-attack. The striker beat Lloris, but Sandro scrambled back to
clear off the line. Back up the other end Jan Vertonghen used some silky skills to beat
three Stoke players and cross for Defoe, but the ball just evaded the
diminutive striker.

Vertonghen was booked for a late tackle on Whelan and was back in the
thick of the action moments later with a deflected shot that flew in to
Asmir Begovic's hands.

Battle: Tottenham's Aaron Lennon clashes with Andy Wilkinson

Battle: Tottenham's Aaron Lennon clashes with Andy Wilkinson

Bale put in one of his trademark lung-busting runs and beat his marker, but Shawcross cleared before Defoe could tap in.

The Welshman charged at the Stoke defence 60 seconds later and this time
found his target at the back post, but Adebayor could only head over.

Spurs started to take control of the match and went close to breaking
the deadlock just before the break through Mousa Dembele, who fired half
a yard over the bar.

Stay on your feet, Aaron: Lennon and Andy Wilkinson tussle for the ball

Stay on your feet, Aaron: Lennon and Andy Wilkinson tussle for the ball

The physical nature of the game showed no sign of relenting after the re-start. Just over 30 seconds of the second half had elapsed before Andy Wilkinson saw yellow a foul on Aaron Lennon.

Pulis fumed at Bale just before the hour when he went to ground in an attempt to win a free-kick just outside the box.

Not their day: Jermain Defoe's reaction here says it all

Not their day: Jermain Defoe's reaction here says it all

Spurs had their best chance of the game so far when Bale leapt to meet Lennon's cross, but he could only head over.

Stoke hit back on the break the following minute through Geoff Cameron,
who sprinted down the left to found Ryan Shotton, but his attempt on
goal was weak.

Shotton paid the price for the miss as he was withdrawn for Dean
Whitehead, who saw yellow for tangling with Vertonghen barely a minute
after he entered the pitch.

Every reason to smile: Stoke manager Tony Pulis saw his side claim a fine point

Every reason to smile: Stoke manager Tony Pulis saw his side claim a fine point

Do it this way: Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas directs his team

Do it this way: Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas directs his team

Bale and substitute Sigurdsson drove at the Stoke defence, but they had
to shoot from distance as the away side looked to close out the game.

Cameron and N'Zonzi entered the book in the final 15 minutes as the game threatened to boil over.
Spurs threw everything at the visitors, but they could not find a way through.

On the sidelines: Stoke's Michael Owen watches from the bench

On the sidelines: Stoke's Michael Owen watches from the bench

Bale went down in the box, but Lee Mason waved play on, as the match entered its final stages.

With just seconds of the four minutes of added time played, Sigurdsson had a chance to win it, but
Begovic pulled off a world-class save and the hosts had to settle for a
point.

Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto return for Tottenham v Swansea

AVB ready to welcome back Parker and Assou-Ekotto against Swansea

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UPDATED:

18:32 GMT, 14 December 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has been given a boost with the return of Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to first-team training ahead of Tottenham's clash with Swansea on Sunday.

England midfielder Parker has not played a single match this season after suffering an Achilles injury during Euro 2012.

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Back in business: Scott Parker (left) has not played a single game this season

Back in business: Scott Parker (left) has not played a single game this season

Hair we go: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (left) returned to first-team training a couple of days ago

Hair we go: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (left) returned to first-team training a couple of days ago

But Spurs' player of the year last season has featured at reserve and U21 level this week and is in contention for the Swans visit to White Hart Lane.

Manager Villas-Boas hinted that the returning players are likely to start from the bench rather than as part of the first team.

Assou-Ekotto meanwhile has only been able to play three matches this term, the latest of those on September 1, thanks to a knee injury.

The 28-year-old left-back tweeted: 'Training with the team today! I hope I'll remember the name of everyone.'

Centre-back Jan Vertonghen has been playing in his position and although he has coped well, will be happy to move back to his regular spot sooner rather than later.

Gareth Bale will train on Saturday but his hamstring injury is likely to keep him out of the match, along with Younes Kaboul who has a knee problem.

However centre-back Michael Dawson is likely to play after beating his own hamstring injury.

Provisional Spurs squad

Friedel, Lloris, Gomes, Cudicini; Walker, Naughton,
Assou-Ekotto, Gallas, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen; Lennon, Sigurdsson,
Townsend, Falque, Carroll, Mason, Livermore, Sandro, Huddlestone,
Dembele, Parker; Dempsey, Adebayor, Defoe.

VIDEO: Parker and Assou-Ekotto could be ready for Swansea

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Tottenham 3 Panathinaikos 1 – match report

Tottenham 3 Panathinaikos 1: AVB has pop at Chelsea lifeline as Spurs advance to knockout stages

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UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 7 December 2012

Andre Villas-Boas aimed a sly dig at former club Chelsea, claiming it is ‘unfair’ they have been rewarded for their European failure.

After his Tottenham side cruised into the last 32, the Portuguese manager said his ex-employers should not have been given a place in the Europa League for finishing third in their Champions League group.

Rise: Clint Dempsey heads the ball towards goal and sees it bounce in off of the crossbar and the keeper

Rise: Clint Dempsey heads the ball towards goal and sees it bounce in off of the crossbar and the keeper

Dempsey's day: The American had a fine game as Spurs progressed

Dempsey's day: The American had a fine game as Spurs progressed

Match facts

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Lennon (Livermore 87), Sandro, Carroll (Dembele 75), Dempsey (Sigurdsson 80), Defoe, Adebayor.

Subs not used: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Townsend, Stewart.

Booked: Naughton.

Goals: Adebayor 29, Karnezis o.g. 76, Defoe 83.

Panathinaikos: Karnezis, Seitaridis, Triantafyllopoulos, Vyntra, Spyropoulos, Vitolo, Sow (Christodoulopoulos 60), Sissoko, Zeca, Mavrias (Fornaroli 83), Toche (Petropoulos 78).

Subs not used: Kapino, Marinos, Chouchoumis, Velazquez.

Booked: Spyropoulos.

Goal: Zeca 54.

Att: 32,554.

Ref: Pawel Gil (Poland)

Europa League tables, fixtures and results

Villas-Boas said: ‘I’ve had this
situation in the Europa League when I was at Porto and I think it is
extremely unfair. You can’t give a bonus to teams that have failed.’

The earliest the two London clubs can meet is in the last 16, and
Villas-Boas added: ‘Sometimes it is destiny. Hopefully if we go through
we can meet each other. If we do meet they will be two magnificent
games.’

Emmanuel Adebayor scored his first European goal in nearly two years,
firing Spurs ahead before an own goal and an elegant finish by Jermain
Defoe clinched victory. Adebayor’s last goals were the two he scored for
Real Madrid against Spurs in the Spanish side’s 4-0 Champions League
win on April 5, 2011.

His strike could persuade Villas-Boas to reward the Togolese forward
with a Premier League return against Everton on Sunday now his
three-match domestic suspension for the red card against Arsenal is
over.

Spurs fielded a strong starting line-up, with Adebayor and Defoe up
front and highly rated midfielder Tom Carroll given another chance to
burnish his reputation.

After a slow start Tottenham took the lead in the 29th minute when Clint
Dempsey was afforded the time and space to find Adebayor with an
inch-perfect pass, leaving the striker with the simple task of slotting
past Orestis Karnezis from 10 yards.

Tucked away: Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring for Spurs

Tucked away: Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring for Spurs

How's that Adebayor celebrates his opener

How's that Adebayor celebrates his opener

Spurs hardly deserved their advantage but Villas-Boas would not have
cared an iota as his side took a step closer to the knockout stages.

Sandro thundered a long-ranger well over Karnezis’ bar soon after before
Ibrahim Sissoko sent a similar effort sky high. Defoe was
uncharacteristically wasteful in the 37th minute, ballooning a 12-yard
half-volley over the bar after Georgios Seitaridis failed to deal with
Aaron Lennon’s cross.

Spurs fans sensed their latest European adventure would run into the
second half of the season and began to mock Chelsea’s Champions League
exit with cries of: ‘Champions of Europe, you’re not any more.’

Good work: Andre Villas-Boas gives Spurs the thumbs up sign

Good work: Andre Villas-Boas gives Spurs the thumbs up sign

Back in it: Zeca nods past Brad Friedel

Back in it: Zeca nods past Brad Friedel

Level terms: Zeca struck for Panathinaikos to make it 1-1 on the night

Level terms: Zeca struck for Panathinaikos to make it 1-1 on the night

Defoe came within inches of scoring Tottenham’s second four minutes
after the break, hitting the post with a fierce left-foot drive from
inside the box after another beautiful pass from Dempsey.

Panathinaikos managed a shock 54th-minute equaliser when Nikos
Spyropoulos was left in acres of space down the left and his cross was
met beautifully by Zeca, who escaped the attentions of Kyle Naughton at
the far post and nodded expertly past Brad Friedel.

Attempt: Defoe tries to blast home on the volley

Attempt: Defoe tries to blast home on the volley

Heads up: Charalambos Mavrias controls the ball

Heads up: Charalambos Mavrias controls the ball

Tottenham’s Europa League hopes were back in the balance but Dempsey
helped settle tensions 14 minutes from time as his thunderbolt header
from Kyle Walker’s free-kick cannoned off the bar and back off Karnezis
to restore his side’s lead.

And Defoe clinched victory after 83 minutes with a beautiful chip over
Karnezis following a pass by Lennon that sprung the offside trap.

Chippy: Defoe lifts the ball over the keeper to make it 3-1

Chippy: Defoe lifts the ball over the keeper to make it 3-1

Lazio 0 Tottenham 0 – match report: Gareth Bale robbed of Europa League winner

Lazio 0 Tottenham 0: Anti-Semitic chants overshadow stalemate… as Spurs left facing Greek showdown for Europa progress

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 22 November 2012

Welcome back, Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne was given a hero's welcome in Rome's Olympic Stadium as the former Tottenham and Lazio midfielder was guest of honour for the two sides' Europa League clash.

Click here to read the full story…

Tottenham could not deliver their battered and bruised fans victory over Lazio, but their Hugo Lloris-inspired draw at the Stadio Olimpico means they are one step closer to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Their draw against the Rome-based club did not come without controversy, however, as Lazio fans chanted 'Juden Tottenham' at the away fans in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe at the end of a troubled 24 hours for the visiting fans.

One Tottenham fan was in hospital tonight after being stabbed in the skull and thigh during an attack on a bar in the city centre in the early hours of this morning.

Too quick: Gareth Bale (centre) rounds goalkeeper Federico Marchetti (left) and Luis Pedro Cavanda (right)

Too quick: Gareth Bale (centre) rounds goalkeeper Federico Marchetti (left) and Luis Pedro Cavanda (right)…

... before the Tottenham winger taps into an empty net in the fifth minute...

… before the Tottenham winger taps into an empty net in the fifth minute…

... but replays showed Bale was clearly ONSIDE as the pass was played through by Tom Carroll

… but replays showed Bale was clearly ONSIDE as the pass was played through by Tom Carroll

Match facts

Lazio: Marchetti, Cavanda, Biava, Ciani, Radu, Mauri, Gonzalez, Ledesma, Hernanes (Ederson 69), Lulic (Candreva 78), Kozak (Floccari 78).

Subs not used: Bizzarri, Scaloni, Onazi, Rozzi, Floccari.

Booked: Floccari

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sigurdsson (Lennon 63), Sandro, Carroll (Dembele 76), Bale, Dempsey (Defoe 63), Adebayor.

Subs not used: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Dawson, Livermore.

Booked: Vertonghen

Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes (Spain).

Attendance: 20,000

The latest Europa League tables, fixtures and results

Lazio, and their icon Paul Gascoigne –
who was guest of honour here in the Italian capital – would have hoped
for the football to do the talking, but the apparent anti-Semitic
chanting will disappoint UEFA, who fined the club for monkey-chanting
during the reverse fixture in September.

Gascoigne's appearance on the pitch
had rekindled memories of a glorious era for Lazio and Spurs, but
tonight's tie proved to be anything but a classic.

Libor Kozak, making a rare start,
missed a hatful of chances for the hosts, but Lloris was equally
important in keeping Lazio at bay.

The Frenchman, chosen ahead of Brad
Friedel, denied Kozak twice in the first half and was a steady and
assuring presence throughout.

Tottenham rarely threatened – although Gareth Bale's early strike should not have been ruled out for offside.

But Panathinaikos' victory over
Maribor means Tottenham only have to draw their final game at home to
the Greeks next month to qualify.

Message: Lazio fans hold a banner reading 'Free Palestine' at the Stadio Olimpico

Message: Lazio fans hold a banner reading 'Free Palestine' at the Stadio Olimpico

Not his day: Lazio's Libor Kozak holds his head in his hands after missing yet another chance

Not his day: Lazio's Libor Kozak holds his head in his hands after missing yet another chance

Denied: Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) rushes out to save at Kozak's feet

Denied: Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) rushes out to save at Kozak's feet

Gascoigne's emotional lap of honour
had whipped up the feelings of both sets of fans, and the game started
off with a bang for the away side.

Spurs should have been 1-0 up after
just four minutes when Bale latched on to Tom Carroll's through-ball and
rounded Federico Marchetti, but the linesman incorrectly ruled the goal
offside.

Tottenham continued to dominate and
went close when Bale picked out Gylfi Sigurdsson, but Stefan Radu
intervened to prevent the forward from scoring.

The home crowd inside the half-empty
Stadio Olimpico were surprisingly quiet in the opening quarter, but they
were brought to the edge of their seats in the 18th minute.

Heads up: Michael Ciani (centre) and Ederson jump for the ball with Jan Vertonghen (left) and Bale

Heads up: Michael Ciani (centre) and Ederson jump for the ball with Jan Vertonghen (left) and Bale

Lloris, who was partly responsible for
a howler against Maribor two weeks ago, mis-judged Cristian Ledesma's
30-yard shot, which he palmed on to the bar. The former Lyon man quickly
made amends by getting to his feet and forcing Alvaro Gonzalez wide
with the follow-up.

Other than a dipping shot from Bale,
Spurs were struggling to get in to the game and they had Lloris to thank
for stopping them from going behind again moments later.

Kyle Walker's slip allowed Kozak to break through, but Lloris saved the striker's shot with his out-stretched leg.

Kozak missed a sitter on the half hour, nodding wide a Stefano Mauri cross from eight yards after losing his marker.

Clean sheet: Spurs keeper Lloris (centre) sees another home effort on goal miss its target

Clean sheet: Spurs keeper Lloris (centre) sees another home effort on goal miss its target

Lazio split the Spurs defence again
just before half-time to send Kozak through, but Lloris came to the
rescue again, storming off his line to clear.

Both sets of supporters sang
Gascoigne's name at half-time, but the football both sides produced
after the break was nowhere near the great man's standards.

Spurs were sloppy in possession and had Kozak to thank for his awful finishing.

No way past: Lazio's Cristian Ledesma (third left) hits his free-kick into the Spurs defensive wall

No way past: Lazio's Cristian Ledesma (third left) hits his free-kick into the Spurs defensive wall

The 23-year-old latched on to a through-ball but he dragged his shot wide, much to the annoyance of the home fans.

It only took five more minutes for the
striker to miss his next chance. This time the Czech straight at Lloris
after being played in by a deft touch from Amauri.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas brought Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon off the bench to give them the cutting edge they lacked.

Ledesma bent a free-kick over the wall and just wide of Lloris' goal as Lazio continued to threaten.

What a player: Gascoigne (right) and Lazio president Claudio Lotito greet the fans before the match

What a player: Gascoigne (right) and Lazio president Claudio Lotito greet the fans before the match

Hero's welcome: Lazio fans wave a flag featuring former star Paul Gascoigne at the Stadio Olimpico

Hero's welcome: Lazio fans wave a flag featuring former star Paul Gascoigne at the Stadio Olimpico

Villas-Boas then brought on Mousa Dembele for his first match in over a month as Tottenham looked to hold on for the point.

Lloris clattered in to a post as he
challenged for a cross with Mauri and then cleared off the line with six
minutes to go from Michael Ciani's header.

Andre Villas-Boas dismisses Hugo Lloris complaint from Didier Deschamps

In one ear, out the other! AVB dismisses Deschamps' complaint over Lloris

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UPDATED:

07:21 GMT, 9 November 2012

Andre Villas-Boas brushed off Didier Deschamps' latest barb over Hugo Lloris after the Tottenham goalkeeper made his first high-profile error in Thrusday night's 3-1 win over Maribor.

Deschamps renewed his attack on Villas-Boas, claiming Lloris was losing his sharpness after being used in a rotation system with Spurs No 1 Brad Friedel.

The France head coach had twice previously questioned the wisdom of Lloris' decision to swap Lyon, where he was guaranteed first pick, for Tottenham.

Blunder: Hugo Lloris was at fault as Tottenham conceded against Maribor

Blunder: Hugo Lloris was at fault as Tottenham conceded against Maribor

'He does not have enough playing time,' Deschamps was quoted in the French media as saying at a press conference.

'He plays one game per week in the Europa League. It is a situation that is cumbersome and not ideal. He is a competitor and he cannot simply play two or three matches.'

When asked how he felt about Deschamps' constant commenting on his goalkeeper, Villas-Boas pointed to his head and said: 'It goes in one ear and comes out the other.'

Lloris' failure to clear a Kyle Naughton backpass allowed Robert Beric to equalise just before half-time in Thursday night's Europa League Group J meeting at White Hart Lane.

Naughton's pass was heavy, leaving Lloris with little time to clear before Beric closed him down, but the France skipper still did not take the opportunity to clear the ball to his side – a move that would have certainly prevented the Slovenians from scoring.

Villas-Boas insisted Lloris still has a chance of making Spurs' team for Sunday's game at Manchester City despite the error.

He said: 'Sometimes things like this happen.

'It happened to us at Chelsea with Petr Cech last year. It's mistakes that make you evolve as a player and I have no problem with that.

'It could happen to any goalkeeper during any game. It will not affect my decision-making.'

Andre Villas-Boas

Didier Deschamps

Loggerheads: Andre Villas-Boas (left) and France boss Didier Deschamps

Who was to blame for the Maribor strike proved inconsequential in the end as Tottenham ran out comfortable winners thanks to Jermain Defoe's hat-trick.

The 30-year-old's triple strike meant he moved ahead of Teddy Sheringham in to eighth place in Tottenham's all-time top goalscorer list.

'That's special on a personal note as Teddy was a player I watched as a kid,' Defoe told ITV.

'He was a great player for club and country.

'It was amazing [to score a hat-trick]. As a forward you get judged on scoring goals. It's the best thing in the world but it was important we won the game tonight.'

Europa League: Maribor 1 Tottenham 1 – match report

Maribor 1 Tottenham 1: Sigurdsson saves Spurs' skin as first Euro win remains elusive

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UPDATED:

19:10 GMT, 25 October 2012

Gylfi Sigurdsson helped Tottenham rescue a point in Slovenia tonight after an inept performance at NK Maribor saw them slump to a third successive Europa League draw.

The former Swansea midfielder has yet to find his feet since his summer arrival, but went some way to repaying the north Londoners' faith by lashing home to ensure his side did not leave the Stadion Ljudski vrt empty-handed.

It was a goal that saved Spurs' blushes in what was a frustrating night against a Maribor side that came into the match with a record of just two wins their previous 15 European games on home soil.

On the up: Gylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed one of his better days for Spurs, scoring the equaliser

On the up: Gylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed one of his better days for Spurs, scoring the equaliser

On the up: Gylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed one of his better days for Spurs, scoring the equaliser

MATCH FACTS

MARIBOR: Handanovic, Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac, Mertelj, Cvijanovic, Mezga, Tavares, Ibraimi, Beric. Subs not used: Pridigar, Filipovic, Komazec, Ploj, Viler, Dodlek, Lesjak.

Goals: Beric 42.

Booked: Mezga

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Huddlestone, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Townsend (Falque 46), Defoe Subs not used: Cudicini, Dempsey, Gallas, Livermore, Smith, Parrett.

Goals; Sigurdsson 58.

Booked: Naughton

Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)

Click here for all the latest scores and live tables from the Europa League

The Vijolicasti lost home and away to
the npower Championship side Birmingham in last season's competition
yet took the lead three minutes from half-time when Robert Beric prodded
home.

Andre Villas-Boas brought on Iago
Falque at the break in a bid to change thing and the move paid dividends
13 minutes later, with the Spaniard playing in the cross that allowed
Sigurdsson to score during a penalty-box melee.

Tottenham pushed for a winner but
were unable to eke out another goal, with the point leaving them third
in Group J at the halfway point.

Andre Villas-Boas named a
strong-looking line-up in Slovenia, making just three changes to the
side that lost 4-2 to Chelsea at the weekend.

Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton and Andros
Townsend came in and would likely have been joined by Michael Dawson
had he not been ruled out with illness.

Slow out the blocks: Robert Beric gave Maribor the lead, capitalising on several Spurs mistakes

Slow out the blocks: Robert Beric gave Maribor the lead, capitalising on several Spurs mistakes

Slow out the blocks: Robert Beric gave Maribor the lead, capitalising on several Spurs mistakes

The visitors dominated the early
possession in Slovenia's second city and took two minutes to get away
their first shot, with Sigurdsson shooting wide after collecting a cross
from Kyle Walker.

Maribor's main threat came on the
counter attack and they found the net four minutes later through Beric,
although the striker had already been flagged offside much to the home
support's audible frustration.

The game settled down after a frantic
opening as the hosts started to make inroads forward, only to be let
down time and time again by awry passing.

Agim Ibraimi saw a looped effort denied by Lloris as the home side looked for a surprise opener in a first half of few chances.

Grim battle: Tottenham were rarely at their fast-paced best having rested several key men

Grim battle: Tottenham were rarely at their fast-paced best having rested several key men

Grim battle: Tottenham were rarely at their fast-paced best having rested several key men

Walker lashed a 20-yard effort
harmlessly wide and Jan Vertonghen saw a tame header easily caught by
Jasmin Handanovic as Tottenham pushed for the evening's first goal.

Sandro came close with a fierce
25-yard drive that drifted just wide, before Jermain Defoe directed over
from the Brazil international's cutback.

Villas-Boas' side almost paid for
their profligacy in front of goal after 39 minutes when Ales Mejac found
space to hit a hopeful 30-yard strike just wide.

Heads we win: Jermain Defoe led the line, and had added height with the support of Sigurdsson

Heads we win: Jermain Defoe led the line, and had added height with the support of Sigurdsson

Heads we win: Jermain Defoe led the line, and had added height with the support of Sigurdsson

It was a warning Tottenham failed to heed and three minutes later Maribor made them pay.

Dejan Mezga did superbly down the
left and skipped past Huddlestone's challenge, before dinking the ball
over Lloris for under-pressure Beric to stab home.

Villas-Boas replaced the ineffective Townsend with Falque for the second half but it was Maribor who were first to threaten.

Mejac ran down the left four minutes
after the restart and played through Tavares, whose goalbound prod was
easily denied by Lloris.

The hosts, clearly buoyed by their
first-half goal, saw Goran Cvijanovic fire over from distance as they
again came close moments later but by the 58th minute the score was
level.

Try as they might: Spurs did have plenty of the ball but failed to really test the goalkeeper

Try as they might: Spurs did have plenty of the ball but failed to really test the goalkeeper

Try as they might: Spurs did have plenty of the ball but failed to really test the goalkeeper

Substitute Falque's cross from the
left fell for Defoe, whose thumping effort was somehow cleared off the
line but fell straight for Sigurdsson to score from close range.

Ibraimi struck the side-netting as
Maribor looked to make an immediate response, before Defoe and Walker
produced strikes at the other end.

Naughton was booked for diving as
Tottenham desperately searched for a winner, which left them exposed at
the back and saw Beric come close to directing home.

Sub Dempsey tested Handanovic as Spurs
desperately searched for a winner, which never came despite
Vertonghen's best efforts late on.

Liverpool v Anzhi, Maribor v Tottenham, Newcastle v Club Brugge live

EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE: Maribor v Tottenham – the action from the Ljudski as it happens

|

UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 25 October 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Europa League as Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle reach the halfway point of their respective group matches. Spurs travel to Maribor at 6pm, while the Reds and Alan Pardew's side follow at 8.05pm when they host Anzhi and Club Brugge respectively. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Maribor v Tottenham (6pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Maribor: Handanovic, Milec, Rajcevic,
Arghus, Mejac, Mertelj, Cvijanovic, Mezga, Tavares, Ibraimi, Beric.
Subs: Pridigar, Filipovic, Komazec, Ploj, Viler, Dodlek, Lesjak.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker,
Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Huddlestone, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Townsend,
Defoe.
Subs: Cudicini, Dempsey, Gallas, Falque, Livermore, Smith,
Parrett.

Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)

Click here for all the latest scores and live tables from the Europa League

17.49: One of those was a 3-0 win over Panathinaikos this season though…

17.47: From OptaJoe:

2 – NK Maribor have won just two of their previous 15 European games on home soil. Struggle.

17.44: Elsewhere it's worth keeping an eye on Andros Townsend on Tottenham's left flank.

Confidence is something he doesn't lack but knowing when to pass is not his strong point.

Spurs fans will be hoping he doesn't end up down more dead ends on the wing this evening.

On a random note I think he is a dead ringer for F1 driver Lewis Hamilton too but I guess that isn't that important.

17.41: Speaking of Sigurdsson this game is big for him personally too. The Icelandic midfielder has made a quiet start since joining Spurs this summer and looks far from the player that rifled in crucial goals for Swansea last term.

The 23-year-old could do with a confidence building performance where he features heavily in the attack.

17.38: Gylfi Sigurdsson certainly knows what's at stake this evening. The attacking midfielder commented in this piece from Simon Peach on the importance of Tottenham bouncing back from last weekend's defeat to Chelsea.

17.35: The players are warming up in Slovenia in what looks like a chilly evening. It's good to see Tottenham going with a reasonably strong line-up.

17.32: That doesn't leave many options on the bench either for Spurs. Clint Dempsey provides an option in attack but there isn't much else in terms of ammunition for Villas-Boas.

17.29: No Emmanuel Adebayor or Gareth Bale either for Spurs, with the former still struggling with fitness and the latter on paternity leave.

17.26: Michael Dawson misses Tottenham's Europa League clash with NK Maribor this evening due to a migraine.

The 28-year-old had been expected to start for Spurs, who make three changes to the side that started Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Chelsea.

Hugo Lloris replaces Brad Friedel in goal for the Group J fixture, while Kyle Naughton and Andros Townsend come in for William Gallas and Clint Dempsey. Aaron Lennon captains Spurs at the Stadion Ljudski.

17.23: Full line-ups from the Ljudski:

Maribor v Tottenham
Maribor: Handanovic, Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac, Mertelj, Cvijanovic, Mezga, Tavares, Ibraimi, Beric. Subs: Pridigar, Filipovic, Komazec, Ploj, Viler, Dodlek, Lesjak.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Huddlestone, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Dempsey, Gallas, Falque, Livermore, Smith, Parrett.

Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)

Missing out: Michael Dawson is absent for Tottenham through illness

Missing out: Michael Dawson is absent for Tottenham through illness

17.20: Also Spurs fans, do you fancy free tickets to see your team at White Hart Lane

Then check out our competition in association with Thomas Cook Sport here for full details on how you can see Andre Villas-Boas' men take on Wigan next month.

17.17: Before we focus fully on Spurs, don't forget to stay with us after this game for Liverpool and Newcastle's live matches against Anzhi and Club Brugge respectively.

Brendan Rodgers hasn't made this competition his priority at Anfield but he has served up a couple of cracking games so far.

17.14: Maribor as you may expect don't have a rich European pedigree but it was only last season that they faced English opposition in Europe.

They lost to Birmingham home and away in this very competition and don't forget City are a Championship side – so if Spurs don't win tonight then I don't think they ever will.

17.11: So no Michael Dawson for Spurs, has he dropped further down the pecking order Evidently not – he misses tonight's game through illness.

17.08: It's time for Spurs to deliver in this competition following two draws they really should've won.

They were unlucky to see harsh referee decisions rule out three goals (at least one should've counted!) against Lazio while they only had themselves to blame for not beating the most disillusioned Panathiniakos side in living memory.

Maribor are the minnows in this group so failure to secure three points tonight and it's an uphill struggle for the last three games.

17.05: Tottenham starting XI:

Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Sandro, Lennon, Townsend and Defoe.

17.00: Well I guess it's up to our Europa League trio to prevent English football leaving this European week with its tail between its legs.

We'll see Liverpool and Newcastle later on but first up it's Tottenham…although I'm not entirely sure they're the team we want to rely on following Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City's respective Champions League defeats. Either way the team news from Maribor's Stadion Ljudski is on the way.

Yet to get going: Aaron Lennon (right) and Tottenham have recorded two draws so far

Yet to get going: Aaron Lennon (right) and Tottenham have recorded two draws so far

Gareth Bale left at home for Spurs game with Maribor

Daddy Bale stays at home as Tottenham face crucial test in Slovenia

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UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 24 October 2012

Gareth Bale has been granted a week’s paternity leave after discussions with Spurs’ boss Andre Villas-Boas, but has insisted upon making an emotional return to Southampton this weekend.

The Wales international was left at home with his new-born daughter as the rest of the club’s first-team squad flew out to Slovenia.

The winger pulled out of the match against Chelsea after his partner went into labour last Saturday but will link up once more with his colleagues after deciding that the opportunity to face his former club at St Mary’s was too good to pass up.

Back home: Andre Villas Boas allowed Gareth Bale to remain in England with his newborn baby

Back home: Andre Villas Boas allowed Gareth Bale to remain in England with his newborn baby

PROBABLE LINE-UP

TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton; Huddlestone, Sandro; Lennon, Dempsey, Sigurdsson; Defoe.

Kick-off: 6pm, Ljudski vrt Stadium.

TV: LIVE on ITV4 from 5.30pm.

Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia).

It is the first time he will have been back to face the Saints after leaving the club to join the north Londoners in a 10m deal five years ago.

Villas-Boas had left the situation open-ended, but it appears that Bale himself has taken the decision to play.

'We have been discussing it since he left us before the game against Chelsea,' said Villas-Boas, 'I’ve had a conversation with him.

'On such an occasion it is important to give the player a choice of a return so he comes back mentally strong and ready to focus.

'It’s important to have input from the player as well. So, we will have no doubts about his state when he returns for the Southampton game.' Bale is not alone in remaining behind. Moussa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor and Brad Friedel were all absentees.

Ready to go: Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon train ahead of game

Ready to go: Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon train ahead of game

Villas-Boas looks set to name a strong side once more ahead of two matches against the Slovenians that he feels will decide whether the club progresses from the group.

Kyle Walker will continue at right-back, despite the closure of his twitter account. The defender received abuse after the Chelsea match and decided that enough was enough.

'The social media is something we respect – as long as it does not collide with the club’s interests,' added Villas-Boas, 'I’m not sure the reasons Kyle took for closing the account, whether they are connected to the happenings after the Chelsea game. But certainly he feels better about it.'

Two draws from the opening matches have left Spurs chasing Lazio who appear certain to qualify should they beat Panathinaikos.

'It was always going to be decisive,' added Spurs’ head coach, 'It looks as though it will be between our two sides. If you look at our players, we should win, but it doesn’t always work like that.

'Manchester United struggled against Braga. Maribor won a big derby match at the weekend and will be very motivated against us.'