Search

Spurs ride their luck but book a place in Europa League last 32

22:09 06 December 2012

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe (centre) scores his side's third goal. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

PA Wire

UEFA Europa League Group J: Tottenham 3 Panathinaikos 1

Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates scoring Tottenham's first goal against Panathinaikos with team-mate Jermain Defoe (right). Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates scoring Tottenham's first goal against Panathinaikos with team-mate Jermain Defoe (right). Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Spurs celebrated their 100th game in Europe’s second tier competition with progression through to the knockout stages after a 3-1 win over Panathinaikos.

Tottenham had been the group stage draw specialists along with Holland’s FC Twente, eking out four of them from their five games prior to tonight’s clash.

They only needed a point against the Athens side to progress but the club’s record against Greek opposition had not been good with just one win in five prior to this match – that coming in the 1972 UEFA Cup. The four subsequent match-ups had seen them lose two and the other two end all square.

And with the previous defeat coming against Pana in last season’s Europa League group stage this result was a measure of revenge.

Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor (right) scores their first goal of the game during against Panathinaikos. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor (right) scores their first goal of the game during against Panathinaikos. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Though the scoreline looked comfortable the hosts were anything but midway through the second half after Toché cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor’s first half opener and the nerves descended around N17.

But two quick-fire goals towards the end of the match from Clint Dempsey and Jermain Defoe made sure their European dreams moved into the New Year after finishing second in Group J behind Lazio.

The match saw Brad Friedel make his first start in a month, captaining a strong-looking Spurs team that also included recalled trio Kyle Walker, Adebayor and young midfielder Tom Carroll.

Panathinaikos manager Juan Roman Rocha left out Quincy Owusu-Abeyie after the former Arsenal forward suffered a hamstring injury.

Panathinaikos' Jose Carlos Zeca (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.Panathinaikos' Jose Carlos Zeca (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

With the Greek side needing to win to leapfrog the Lilywhites into the next stage it was a strange choice of tactics to play on the counter. Sandro did his level best to keep them from getting any joy and on the odd occasion they bypassed the midfielder Walker and Steven Caulker were faultless in cutting out what little danger there was.

With the ball, patience was the plan and Carroll, with his midfield partner doing the legwork, was given the freedom to keep the ball ticking over.

His target, more often than not, was the lively Dempsey who probed down the flanks early on. He would be instrumental in the opening goal but first Tottenham survived their only scare of the half when Toché’s connection to a drilled free-kick was too faint and the ball skimmed wide.

Seven minutes later and Spurs’ American attacker drifted into the middle of the park and was afforded so much space that it was relatively straightforward for him to unpick the Panathinaikos backline to set Adebayor free and, beating the offside trap, the striker stroked the ball home.

Clint Dempsey, who scored Tottenham's second goal, picks out a pass. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.Clint Dempsey, who scored Tottenham's second goal, picks out a pass. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

The goal came at a time just when a flatness had descended over the game, and it served to spark the visitors into some semblance of life.

Yet their only foray forward saw Friedel alert enough to easily palm away a through-ball from the patch of the onrushing Toché.

That set Spurs on a counter attack of their own and the two protagonists in their goal reversed roles but Dempsey couldn’t match Adebayor’s accuracy and he blasted over.

The closing stages of the half brought one last chance for the hosts as Aaron Lennon showed his markers a clean pair of heels to reach the byline and dink a cross to the goalscorer, but his header was blocked and Defoe slammed the rebound high into the stands.

Four minutes into the restart and the England forward came within a lick of paint from doubling the lead, manoeuvring half a yard of space and thundering against the inside of the upright and back across the face of goal.

Then in the space of a few seconds Panathinaikos’ Ibrahim Sissoko sliced Spurs open for the first time with a pass that Toché almost got on the end of. With the danger not fully dealt with, the ball went out wide and from a cross Zeca stooped low to arrow a header past Friedel.

As the Lilywhites rattled the Greeks brought on Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and the number 10 began working away in pockets that the home defence struggled to track.

Panathinaikos should have taken the lead on 69 minutes and it was borne of blind panic in the Tottenham ranks as a clearance hit the back of Jan Vertonghen to fall invitingly for Toché. Fortunately for the Londoners the striker slashed at the chance, six-yards out, and it screwed wide.

It proved to be his final act as he was replaced, but by then Spurs had found an answer to the growing pressure to put the Athens side behind once more.

From a Walker free-kick Dempsey rose to send a bullet header crashing against the bar but then back off the turf and in via the back of falling keeper Orestis Karnezis. That, like the visitors’ goalscorer, signalled the American’s exit with Gylfi Sigurdsson taking his place, but just as quickly as they had arrived, all of Tottenham’s tensions disappeared and they promptly made sure of their place in the last 32.

Lennon was the architect of the third goal, jinking through a disheartened Panathinaikos defence before disguising a reverse pass to Defoe. The diminutive hitman did what he does best from close range and found the net via a classy dink over a committed Karnezis and a Greek tragedy was avoided.

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon (Livermore, 87), Naughton, Sandro, Carroll (Dembele, 74), Dempsey (Sigurdsson, 79), Adebayor, Defoe

Unused subs: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Townsend, Stewart,

Panathinaikos: Karnezis, Sissoko, Vitolo, Mavrias (Fornaroli, 83), Toché (Petropoulos, 77), Seitaridis, Zeca, Sow (Christodoulopoulos, 60), Vyntra, Spyropoulos, Triantafyllopoulos

Unused subs: Kapino, Marinos, Chouchoumis, Valazquez

Referee: Pawel Gil (Poland)

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Danny Rose (right) celebrates his leveller at White Hart Lane. Pic: Steve Paston/PA Wire

Danny Rose cancelled out James Milner’s first-half penalty with a second-half equaliser as Spurs drew 1-1 with Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Here are five talking points.

Yesterday, 11:38
Gary McCann has played for and managed Hendon in memorable FA Cup ties. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, David Ballheimer reveals his favourite players and his most memorable matches during his time following Hendon.

Yesterday, 07:30
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

Thu, 22:30
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (right) could soon be lining up alongside Tottenham's Victor Wanyama (left) after Spurs made a move to sign the 23-year-old today

Mauricio Pochettino admits he would like to sign a pacy attacking midfielder before the end of the transfer window as Tottenham seek to bring Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha to White Hart Lane.

Thu, 14:02
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is frustrated that a host of his players will be departing for international duty again after this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Thu, 10:15
Laura Hirai in action for the Great Britain Under-19 team at the ESF Junior Womens European Softball Championship in Barcelona

Like most 16-year-olds, Laura Hirai’s primary concern today (Thursday) is her GCSE results. But four days after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics, when the baton was passed to Tokyo and a new four-cycle began, the teenager is also dreaming about being involved in the 2020 Games.

Thu, 09:40
Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Shane Gore. Pic: Martin Addison

Filling the well-worn boots of Bobby Smith doesn’t faze Shane Gore – it’s actually a case of déjà vu for Wingate & Finchley’s new No1.

Thu, 09:11
Hendon midfielder Sam Murphy

Hendon duo Scott Cousins and Sam Murphy are aiming to guide England to their best ever performance at the European Six-a-side Championships later this week.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now