Andre Villas-Boas left to rue Tottenham's wasted chances against Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Andre Villas-Boas wants to take the Europa League seriously. Last night, for Tottenham Hotspur's game at Panathanaikos, he thought he had found the right balance, picking the first-choice attacking players but also Hugo Lloris, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone down the spine of the team. When Dawson headed in Huddlestone's free-kick, it looked set to work perfectly. But when Spanish striker Toche made a late run in between Dawson, Lloris and Steven Caulker and equalised, two points were lost.

Tottenham may have to field stronger teams now to make this ground back up. They have two points from two games, and if Villas-Boas wants to reach the group stage as much as he says he does, he may have to turn to his star players, as they face two games against Maribor and a difficult trip to Lazio.

The new Spurs manager has said that he needs to teach his Spurs players to take this competition more seriously than his predecessor did. So this was less than half of a second string: Moussa Dembélé, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale all started, five days after their crucial roles in the historic storming of Old Trafford.

This was not quite the same challenge. Panathinaikos have an impressive stadium, and some very loud fans, but there were not many of them and Spurs were instead free to impose themselves on the situation. They should have had a penalty after just two minutes, when Andre Pinto moved his arm to Caulker's header from a corner.

Vertonghen and Bale, the powerful left-side combination, then started to cause problems with their running and crossing. There was space for Bale and Lennon to run at goal and shoot, with not much resistance from the home defence. It was attack against defence, and little surprise when Tottenham went ahead, a goal owing to two players brought in last night by Villas-Boas. Huddlestone curled in a free-kick from the right wing and Dawson, wearing the captain's armband he thought would be his all year, rose above Loukas Vyntra at the near post to head in, to his obvious and understandable delight.

The problem, for Tottenham was that the second goal never came. They could not summon quite enough incision and purpose to kill the game, which was very much there for them if they wanted it. With 13 minutes left, right-back Giourkas Seitaridis slid in a perfect pass and Toche – too quick for Dawson – stabbed Panathinaikos level.

Man of the match Vertonghen.

Match rating 4/10.

Referee F Meyer (Ger).

Attendance 23,000.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea