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Spurs v NK Maribor, 08.11.12

EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP J
Match 4
THURSDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, 2012
(8.05 PM)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1) NK MARIBOR 1 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Defoe, 22, 49, 77

Maribor scorer:-
Beric, 40

Attendance:- 27,089

Referee:- Mr. A. Manukka
Assistants:- Mr. M. Heininen & Mr. J-P Aravirta
Fourth official:- Mr. J. Honkanen
Additional assistants:- Mr. M. Gestranius & Mr. D. Antamo ( all officials from Finland)

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon (sub Falque, 90), Huddlestone, Carroll, Bale (sub Mason, 86); Adebayor, Defoe (sub Dempsey, 82)

Subs not used:-Cudicini; Gallas; Livermore, Sigurdsson

Booked:- Bale (dissent), Carroll (foul)

Maribor (4-4-2):- Handanovic; Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac; Ibraimi, Mertelj (sub Dodlek, 89), Filipovic, Cvijanovic (sub Mezga, 69); Beric, Tavares (Capt.) (sub Komazec, 76)
(Armband to Mertelj, then to Rajcevic)
Subs not used:- Pridigar; Vidovic, Potokar, Viler

Booked:- Mejac (foul on Walker)

Defoe hat-trick tames Slovenians

Jermain Defoe scored a terrific hat-trick to give Spurs their first win of this Europa League campaign, taking them above their victims today, NK Maribor of Slovenia. It was Spurs' first hat-trick of the season, and their first since October 2010.

It was Defoe's first club hat-trick since February 2010 at Leeds, and Spurs’ first hat-trick since that of Gareth Bale in the San Siro against Inter two years ago.

Spurs are now in second place in Group J, well placed behind the leaders Lazio, who beat Panathinaikos 3-0 tonight in Rome, where we must go for our next game on November 22nd.

Andre Villas-Boas changed his style for the first time this season, giving Emmanuel Adebayor his first start of the season, playing beside Defoe in a refreshing 4-4-2.

Tom Carroll had an excellent game in midfield beside Tom Huddlestone, and had it not been for Defoe's hat-trick, Carroll would have been a very strong candidate for man of the match. Carroll's pass rate was excellent, with just two or three going astray. He also showed some gutsy determination at times, getting a foot in some strongly contested situations. Carroll even got a booking for what the Finnish referee harshly considered an unfair challenge.

Spurs were skippered by Michael Dawson, whose trademark long diagonal balls were a regular feature. Jan Vertonghen played in the middle of the defence, allowing Naughton a game at left back. AVB was clearly determined to attack the visitors, with Lennon and Bale on the wings.

Maribor had sent just under 800 fans to White Hart Lane, but by and large, they were kept quiet by the vocal Spurs support, boosted by the "1882" squad, who started proceedings with a hearty "we'll sing what we want", and "Yid Army" as a message to the Society of Black Lawyers who want to persecute Spurs for their badge of honour chant.

Spurs were on the front foot from the outset, and Aaron Lennon won an early corner, taken by Huddlestone, from which Adebayor headed over.

Carroll sent a nice pass to Defoe, who touched the ball to Adebayor, who sent it out to Bale on the left. Bale's cross was cleared at the back post.

Huddlestone took a corner after 6 minutes from the left, which Bale headed on in front of the near post. The ball was cleared from the back post. A Bale cross was cleared after Adebayor had tried to tee up Defoe, whose attempt at a hook shot failed. Bale made a beautiful pull down of a long ball on the left touch line, but his cross came to nothing. Another Carroll pass gave Bale another chance to cross, but the ball was too high for Defoe's attempted header.

Defoe did get his head to Adebayor's cross from the right, but he hit the ball straight into the goalkeeper's arms. The first goal came mid-way through the first half, after Carroll took a quick free kick to Bale on the left. Bale crossed and Defoe beat the keeper with a first time touch from the near side of the area. His shot went nicely across the keeper.

Spurs continued to dominate, but Maribor knew they needed to do something, and did have more of a go. Lloris had hardly had a touch but he was alert to Cvijanovic's cross from the left, coming out to claim the ball from the advancing feet of Beric.

Adebayor headed into the hands of Handanovic from a Bale cross but Maribor had a shot from deep after they won a corner on the left.

Bale and Lennon made their first switch of the night, and a Bale cross from the right was too high for Defoe, and too far in front of Lennon at the back post.

Maribor's captain, the Brazilian Tavares, had a shot from the right of the area parried by Lloris, and headed over by Cvijanovic, in a reflex action. Then Spurs allowed the visitors an equaliser, after a poor back pass from the touch line by Naughton for Lloris, who tried, but failed to clear around Beric, who gleefully hit the net.

There was great emotion at half-time when the crowd was introduced to Fabrice Muamba, making his first return visit to The Lane after his dramatic collapse, and miraculous recovery when playing for Bolton in the FA Cup last March. Muamba was given a prolonged standing ovation, and insisted on walking across the pitch to the approximate spot where he had collapsed on that fateful day. It was another moment to put football into perspective.

Beric made the first meaningful advance of the second half, carrying the ball to a shooting position at the Park Lane End, but missing the ball with an air kick. Mejac did get a shot on target, but Lloris saved.

Spurs and Defoe increased their tally with a nice goal, which followed a good feeding pass from the right by Carroll. Defoe scored this one with his left foot across the Maribor keeper's left hand.

Dawson led a nice Spurs move down the right channel, with a ball to Bale, who fed Lennon, who won a corner. Soon after that, Bale took a booking for dissent, kicking the ball away after the referee denied him a free kick, and gave the decision against Bale. Gareth got little change out of the officials throughout the game.

There was a lovely move after 56 minutes, which should have resulted in a Spurs goal. Carroll started it with a ball towards Adebayor, who battled to win and control the ball with his back to goal. Adebayor turned then fed Bale, making a run for Bale’s clip over the static defence. Adebayor had beaten the offside flag, and had the perfect opportunity to score, but somehow hooked his shot wide. Seven minutes later, Adebayor fielded another long ball, before sending Defoe goalward. Defoe went down as he entered the area, and was left flat on his back, but had no joy from the Finnish referee.

Defoe returned the compliment for his strike partner, who had another chance to shoot with his right foot, but chose to pass the ball for Lennon, who had not anticipated such a decision.

Kyle Naughton, who had made the costly error in the first half redeemed himself with a great saving tackle after 71 minutes as Maribor threatened the Spurs goal. Adebayor received another good ball to his feet, shielding and turning in one flowing move, only to see the keeper push his shot out for a corner.

Spurs needed that killer goal, and they got it in the 77th minute. Huddlestone started this move with a quick ball to Bale down the left channel. Bale was goal-side of the defence, and crossed low to Defoe, whose hat-trick came with a lovely right foot shot placed inside the far post. Defoe received a highly deserved standing ovation when he was replaced by Clint Dempsey. Dempsey looked lively and more comfortable in the 4-4-2 role.

Lennon made a progressive run into the box, but failed to get a shot on goal. There was a chain of substitutions and in added time, Dempsey might have got a fortuitous goal, when Handanovic’s attempted clearance rebounded off the advancing striker back into the keeper’s arms.

Spurs go to The Etihad for Sunday’s showdown with Man City in a better frame of mind, and a few key players have been rested, but not as many as we might have hoped. The big hope for Sunday is that Sandro will be fit.

I felt that Tom Carroll out-shone the more experienced Huddlestone in the middle. We’ve known from Day One of his first team career that little Tom has an eye for a pass. Dare I say there were one or two moments when he put me in mind of Modric? Carroll showed more tenacity than I recall previously, and would not be over-awed by any opportunity to shine again in any situation.


Europa League Group J Table (after 4 games)

Pos              P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. Lazio         4  2  2  0  5-1   4   8
2. Spurs         4  1  3  0  5-3   2   6
3. Maribor       4  1  1  2  5-5   0   4
4. Panathinaikos 4  0  2  2  2-8  -6   2

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